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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: December 2, 2018 10:42 AM
From: Senator Michele Brooks
To: All Senate members
Subject: Lyme Disease Education of Parents, and Establishing Protocols for Tick Bites in Schools
In the near future, I will be re-introducing legislation to establish a standard protocol when a tick is found on a child during the school day. The bill would require school officials to notify parents about the tick removal and the symptoms of Lyme disease.

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, 2017, which was led by the Senate Aging and Youth Committee, and the Health and Human Services Committee. Similar legislation has been proposed for New York City schools.

It is hoped that parents 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 –a fivefold increase since 2000. 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 crucial 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 symptoms 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.

Developed in conjunction with PA Lyme Resource Network and PA Lyme, this bill was Senate Bill 1016 of last session, which was cosponsored by Senators Scarnati, Browne, Argall, Martin, Brewster, Greenleaf, Langerholc, Tartaglione, Yudichak, Costa, Rafferty, Schwank and Dinniman.

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

Introduced as SB182