HARRISBURG – Today the Senate passed legislation sponsored by Sen. Michele Brooks (R-50) that creates a standard protocol in response to a tick being removed from a student during the school day.
Senate Bill 232 would require school officials to notify parents in writing about the tick removal and provide information on the symptoms of Lyme disease. The notification will include the date of the tick removal and the recommendation that the child’s parent or guardian promptly seek medical treatment.
The bill also states that the tick must be preserved for the student’s parent or guardian to send to East Stroudsburg University’s tick lab for free testing for tick-related diseases including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever or Powassan virus. The school also has the option of sending the tick for testing. Learn more about how to submit a tick sample and the test results that are often necessary for doctors to pursue treatment at TickLab.org.
“Testing a tick found on a child can provide critical information to help medical professionals prevent the child from long-term or chronic effects from the diseases ticks can carry,” Brooks said “In keeping with my ongoing efforts to combat the tick crisis in Pennsylvania, I encourage anyone who has removed a tick from themselves, a pet, and especially a child, to place it in a plastic zip-locked bag and send it to the tick lab.”
Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of Lyme disease cases. Approximately one in four cases of Lyme occur in children, with children ages five to nine being at the greatest risk for contracting Lyme and other tickborne illnesses.
Early diagnosis is crucial to preventing the persistent symptoms of Lyme and other tickborne illnesses. Left untreated or improperly treated, tick-related diseases can lead to debilitating symptoms, which include fevers, rash, facial paralysis, arthritis, swollen lymph nodes, muscle and joint aches, severe headaches, irregular heartbeat, memory loss and nerve pain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Having received overwhelming support from the Senate, the bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.
CONTACT: Adam Gingrich, 717-787-1322