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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: December 9, 2022 11:58 AM
From: Senator Rosemary M. Brown
To: All Senate members
Subject: Tick Bites in School
As many of you are aware, Pennsylvania has ranked highest in the country in the number of confirmed cases of Lyme Disease.  Approximately, 40 percent of the nation’s cases are in Pennsylvania which places our population at a much higher risk.  I continue to be a strong advocate for individuals and families who are affected by Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. 
Therefore, here in the Senate, I am introducing legislation similar to that which I prime-sponsored in the House of Representatives, House Bill 959, to provide for school tick removal.  This will strengthen guidance that can vary among school districts and not best protect a student’s long-term health.  Since nurse guidance can vary and does not require a tick to be saved or education to be sent home with a child regarding the possibility of contracting a serious disease, and testing options, this measure is critical.  This legislation may also help protect a school nurse regarding liability issues and treatment. 

This legislation requires school officials to notify a parent or guardian when a tick is found on their child during the school day.  If a school nurse is available, the tick would be removed by the nurse.  The nurse would then store the tick (date removed and child’s name) for seven days awaiting parental contact with a recommendation and information on how the tick can be tested. 

Over the last several years I have spearheaded free tick testing to all Pennsylvanians through a grant for East Stroudsburg University Tick Lab.  This testing allows Pennsylvanians to send their tick into the center for free and receive results if the tick was carrying Lyme or other tick-borne diseases.  It can also gauge how long a tick was on an individual, which greatly impacts the risk for disease transmission.  This testing can help in deciding appropriate treatment, if necessary, and contributes additional scientific data that may help our medical community in the future. 

With Lyme Disease and other tick-borne illnesses posing a serious threat to the quality of life of many Pennsylvanians and children, it is vital that we perform all measures to help the detection of these diseases early. 
Please join me in sponsoring this important legislation and building education, health and safety for our children and families.
If you have any questions regarding this legislation, please contact Christine Zubeck in my office at 717-787-6123 or czubeck@pasen.gov.  Thank you for your consideration.

Introduced as SB568