06/16/2020

Department of Health Reminds Pennsylvanians about Ticks, Warns Some Symptoms of Lyme Disease Similar to COVID-19

Harrisburg, PA- Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine today reminded Pennsylvanians to take proper steps to prevent against tick bites and recognize the symptoms of Lyme disease, as some symptoms of Lyme disease are similar to those of COVID-19. Ticks can carry Lyme disease, among other dangerous diseases, that can be severe if not treated properly.

“Over the past several months, we have seen an increase in the number of emergency department visits related to tick bites,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Some symptoms of Lyme disease, such as fever, chills and headache, are similar to symptoms of COVID-19. It is essential that all residents know the proper ways to protect themselves against ticks and are aware of the dangerous diseases they can carry. We want all Pennsylvanians to get outside and be healthy but do so in the safest way possible.”

Preliminary data show that more than 8,500 cases of Lyme disease were reported in Pennsylvania in 2019. The department is continuing to compile complete Lyme disease data, and final numbers for 2019 should be available within the next month. Over time, if not treated, Lyme disease can lead to severe symptoms that affect the heart, nervous system and joints.

You are at risk of getting a tick any time you are outside, including in wooded and bushy areas, areas with high grass and leaf litter, and even in your own yard. This is why it is important to take steps to decrease your chances of getting bitten.  To reduce your chances of a tick bite:

 

If you have been bitten by a tick, make sure to monitor the area for any kinds of symptoms and contact your health care provider immediately. Symptoms of Lyme disease can include:

 

Early stage symptoms of Lyme, like the ones mentioned above, may appear in as few as two days or as long as 30 days after exposure. Later stage symptoms like arthritis, heart and neurological issues may appear months later. Reported illnesses have ranged from people with few to no symptoms to people being severely ill and dying.

Some symptoms of Lyme disease are similar to COVID-19. Symptoms of COVID-19 can include:

As of 12:00 a.m., June 15, there were 79,121 positive cases of COVID-19 statewide in 67 counties and 6,243 total deaths attributed to COVID-19. Most of the patients hospitalized are 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 and older. There have been no pediatric deaths to date. More data is available hereOpens In A New Window.

The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

Updated Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Photos, Graphics

All Pennsylvania residents are encouraged to sign up for AlertPA, a text notification system for health, weather, and other important alerts like COVID-19 updates from commonwealth agencies. Residents can sign up online at www.ready.pa.gov/BeInformed/Signup-For-AlertsOpens In A New Window.

For more information on ticks and Lyme disease, or on mosquitoes and West Nile virus, visit the Department of Health website at www.health.pa.govOpens In A New Window or follow us on FacebookOpens In A New Window and TwitterOpens In A New Window.

MEDIA CONTACT: Nate Wardle, 717-787-1783 or ra-dhpressoffice@pa.gov

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