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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: October 27, 2017 05:57 PM
From: Senator Michele Brooks
To: All Senate members
Subject: Tick Bites in Schools/Lyme Disease Prevention

In the near future, I will be introducing legislation to require school officials to notify a parent or guardian when a tick is removed from their child during the school day.

The legislation will also detail uniform guidelines that all elementary and high schools must follow if a tick is removed from a child during school hours or on school grounds.

These recommendations were among several action steps advanced by medical and entomological experts who testified at a Lyme disease hearing on Oct. 24, hosted by the Senate Aging and Youth Committee, and the Health and Human Services Committee.

It is hoped that, by notifying parents that a child was bitten by a tick, they will become more aware of the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases, and better educated about testing, diagnosis and treatment.

The notice to parents will inform them that not all tick bites lead to Lyme. However, if their child experiences a rash within 3 to 30 days, the child should be checked by their family physician. Parents would also be encouraged to mark their calendars when the tick bite occurred, as a local infectious disease expert recommended.

Pennsylvania leads the nation in cases of Lyme disease, with more than 11,000 cases reported in 2016. Approximately one in four cases of Lyme occurred in children, and children ages 5 to 9 are at the greatest risk for contracting Lyme.

Early diagnosis is critical to preventing the persistent symptoms of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, which may include muscle aches, extreme fatigue, frequent fevers, and cognitive impairment. By increasing awareness, it is hoped that cases of Lyme can be treated early, before they worsen in severity.

This strategy will be one piece in a comprehensive effort to increase awareness, education and prevention of this disease, which grows more prevalent in Pennsylvania each year.

Please join me in cosponsoring this piece of legislation. Thank you.

Introduced as SB1016