University of Pittsburgh Johnstown research indicates an increased risk of Lyme disease with the bacteria detected in one in three ticks.
A report written by Dr. Jill Henning, covering multiple years of research, demonstrates that there is a prevalent Lyme disease risk in Western Pennsylvania.
The report, titled Effective Techniques in the Definitive Diagnosis of Lyme Disease in the SciMedCentral JSM Tropical Report, summarizes the DNA testing of 500 deer ticks.
Dr. Henning and a research team of six University students covered a large area of Western Pennsylvania in Bedford, Cambria, Indiana, and Westmoreland counties. In particular, the study highlighted the need for further education on the risks of Lyme disease and tick awareness.
Dr. Henning had this to say of the increased risk:
"This is an active area. A lot of people are into hiking and biking and other outdoor activities. There isn't a lot of research regarding ticks and their association with Lyme disease in this part of Pennsylvania."
With one in three deer ticks carrying the bacteria, this equates to a 33% chance of coming into contact with the disease if bitten--a point of concern for the research team. The findings have prompted Henning to foster an active dialogue with the public and medical professionals in the area.
Lyme disease can cause neurological issues and chronic joint pain if not treated, and this study shows the importance of early detection of bites and the seeking out of medical professionals if required.
Public awareness and education are key goals for Lyme disease prevention, and this study goes a long way to helping combat the potentially devastating effects of this disease.