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Tickborne illness on the rise and is the drinking water safe in schools?

Written by Merideth Bucher, Producer | Mar 25, 2019 4:24 AM
What to look for on Smart Talk Monday, March 25, 2019:

The reported cases of tickborne disease in the United States are on the rise.

Illnesses like Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis and Lyme Disease are becoming more prevalent. So, the Department of Health is acting to assess the risk across Pennsylvania.

The survey began in July 2018 and is taking place in every county in Pennsylvania. The surveillance is happening during all four seasons of the year in order to collect data from ticks throughout their life-cycle.  

The survey tracks habitats, their life stages and activity levels. They will also test for human pathogenic diseases, like Lyme.

Lyme is by far the most prevalent tickborne disease with more than forty-thousand cases reported in the U.S. in 2017. Most new cases occur in the Upper Midwest and Northeast, including Pennsylvania.

Common Lyme indicators include flu-like symptoms, swollen lymph nodes and often a ring-shaped rash. (CDC reference manual)

Appearing on Smart Talk to discuss the surveillance program is Matt Helwig, water program specialist with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

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Matt Helwig, water program specialist with the Pennsylvania DEP.

Also, how safe is the drinking water in Pennsylvania schools?

PennEnvironment is issuing a report on Tuesday at the Capitol that they say highlights the need for legislative action. The report is called "Get the Lead Out," and it details efforts to provide clean drinking water to students and staffs.     

Also at the Capitol, state Rep. Karen Boback (R-Luzerne/Lackawanna/Wyoming), will introduce Legislation to require all schools in Pennsylvania to test their water for lead contamination. 

Joining Smart Talk to discuss drinking water safety in our schools is Stephanie Wein, Clean Water & Conservation Advocate, PennEnvironment.

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Stephanie Wein, Clean Water & Conservation Advocate, PennEnvironment.


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