Roughly one third of all Lyme disease cases reported in the United States come from Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania tracks these cases by county, and in 2016 (most recently updated track record) Butler County had the most cases with 641.
Westmoreland was third with 577, and Allegheny County was eighth with 403 cases.
It’s alarming for three counties in the top ten affected counties in the United States to come from one state.
Tara Gresock, Monroeville Senior Center Director, arranged for a captive audience to view the documentary Under Our Skin at her facility to warn the public about Lyme Disease.
This is personal for Gresock, as she was diagnosed with Lyme Disease herself after visiting with at least 15 doctors for a year.
She explains her experience as, “It kind of felt like I stuck my finger in a socket. My whole body was, like, had that electrocution feeling, and sometimes it would last five or 10 minutes, sometimes hours.”
Pennsylvania is a large state with large forested areas, which are prime breeding grounds for the ticks that carry the Lyme Disease.
This may be the reasoning “Pennsylvania has been the number one state for the last five years in the country,” according to Dr. Shannon Smith, a Lyme literate specialist in Penn Hills.
Lyme Disease is transmitted to humans when they’re bitten by an infected tick, and symptoms of Lyme disease can include a rash, fatigue, fever and joint pain.
Lyme Disease testing is difficult to track, as many false negatives are reported.
Bill Moore, a man who had Lyme Disease, said of his experience “I was tested several times, and tested negative several times.”
It took three years for Moore to be diagnosed with Lyme Disease.
Moore now leads a region of the Pennsylvania Lyme Resource Network where he and others, including Gresock, have made it their mission to educate people about Lyme disease through community meetings.
“I remember us asking how many people suffer from Lyme, and out of the 100 people, I would say 90 percent raised their hands,” Gresock said referring to a meeting.
Lyme Disease is preventable, and precautions should be taken to avoid being bitten by ticks that spread Lyme.
An EPA registered, IR 3535 Insect Repellent product is highly recommended to repel harmful insect bites that could cause diseases like Lyme and others.