Prevent serious diseases like West Nile, Zika, and Lyme as well as many others.
View additional information and tips below.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted to humans primarily through the bites of infected blacklegged ticks commonly referred to as deer ticks. It is the fastest growing vector-borne infectious disease in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC recently raised the number of estimated new cases of Lyme disease each year from 30,000 to 300,000. Some experts say the figure is far higher.
Over the last five years PA ranked first for reported cases in the U.S.A. The PA Department of Health reports that there were 5758 confirmed and probable cases of Lyme in 2013 with 7,400 cases, a 25% increase, in 2014.
Lyme disease is transmitted mostly by the nymphal deer tick. At this stage, the ticks are the size of a period at the end of a sentence. Many people are not aware when they’ve been bitten by a tick.
Initial symptoms may occur within a day or a week, and often people think they just have a flu or virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, general achiness, swollen glands, fatigue and a possible rash. But some patients may present with only neurological symptoms.
Over 150 common Lyme symptoms are also symptoms of other diseases. It takes a skilled medical practitioner to recognize the patterns of what may seem like unrelated symptoms to make a diagnosis of Lyme disease.
Children and youth are the most likely victims of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Their initial symptoms may go unrecognized and may be considered normal childhood illnesses, allowing the disease to progress undiagnosed and untreated. By the time it is clear there is something wrong, the presenting symptoms are often neuro-cognitive, usually showing up with behavior changes, changes in performance at school, and psychiatric issues. Many children are misdiagnosed with ADD/ADHD, learning disabilities, behavioral issues or psychiatric diagnosis such as oppositional-defiant disorder, anxiety, depression and even Autistic Spectrum-like disorders.
Preventing ticks from attaching to you is the best defense against Lyme disease.
After your outdoor trek, remove clothing in garage or shed and shower when coming indoors. Put clothes in dryer for 1 hour at high heat. Check children, pets and yourself. Ask vet for repellents to repel/kill ticks on your pet. It is important that you remove ticks immediately, and less than 24 hours after being outdoors.
Because deer and other wildlife that carry ticks have become prevalent in residential areas, it is important to minimize desirable tick habitats in your yard by raking leaves, removing pools of standing water, cutting grass regularly, trimming edges around fences, buildings, sidewalks, controlling weeds, removing dead plant material, twigs and branches. Treating shrubs, flowers and any landscape plantings with an approved pesticide may help.
For a wealth of information on Lyme disease and ticks, please visit the PA Lyme Resource Network.
The Culex pipiens is found in Pennsylvania and responsible for the majority of West Nile Virus transmissions. These mosquitos are most active at dusk and dawn.
The Aedes species is responsible for carrying and transmitting the Zika Virus. These mosquitos are aggressive, fly low to the ground and bite mostly during the daytime. These mosquitos also prefer to feed on humans. The Aedes aegypti is the primary vector for Zika, but is not found in the Lehigh Valley. The Aedes albopictus or Asian tiger mosquito is established in some areas of Pennsylvania, but its population is small.
The City coordinates with the Lehigh County Cooperative Extension’s West Nile Virus Program to address mosquitos and the areas where they breed in the City of Allentown. These activities include monitoring mosquito populations and mosquito-related illnesses, responding to mosquito breeding site complaints, treating and eliminating breeding sites, and educating the public on the risks and precautions that should be taken.
The community as a whole can help decrease the risk of mosquito borne disease transmission by reducing the number of breeding sites, using Environmental Protection Agency registered repellents, repairing screens and doors to fit tight, limiting outdoor activities to periods of time when mosquitos are less active and dressing appropriately.
Reduce the number of breeding sites
Protect your family from getting mosquito bites
More information on mosquitos and mosquito borne illnesses can be found on the Centers for Disease Control website. The Lehigh County Cooperative Extension’s West Nile Virus Program office is a good source of information - call (610) 366-8345. You can also contact the Allentown Health Bureau at (610) 437-7599.
City of Allentown - 435 Hamilton Street - 610-439-5999