Lyme Disease Statewide
Inside the Outdoors, May 5,

When Lou Izzo announced recently to an audience of some twenty-five Forbes Trail Chapter Trout Unlimited (FTTU) members in The Barn at the Loyalhanna Watershed Association that the worst state for tick manifestations in all of fifty states was Pennsylvania, it raised many eyebrows, I’m sure. “The black-footed tick has attacked 20,000 residents,” he said.

The past president of the chapter proceeded to give a well-documented researched report on this arachnid, given this name because it has eight legs.

According the Irwin podiatrist, “Outdoor enthusiasts who recreate between May to July are usually bitten by these creatures. Forty one persons on the average are stricken during this time period.”

“Before they become fully mature,” the doctor stated, “they go through a two-year life cycle process. After maturation, they become residents of bushes, woodpiles or structures such as sheds away from the homes. “One can pick up the tick even from one’s pet,” he said.

“Once one is bitten by a tick, one develops a persistent fever, feels rundown, and receives headaches and a rash that resembles a target.” The main bite will resemble a red-inflamed to dark brown circle with two outer rings around it. “It takes thirty-six hours for the rash to develop,” he said. He added, “Just because you don’t have a bulls-eye rash doesn’t mean one isn’t bitten by a tick.”

“If one goes untreated, one will experience problems with the heart and the nervous system,” the Chapter director stated.

“It must be pointed out that not all tick bites are infectious.

Izzo stated that if the tick is removed within thirty-six hours, one would not get an infection. On the other hand, “If one enters into the ‘post Lyme Disease syndrome,’ it may take months to years to get over. If one is suspect that he was bitten, seek medical treatment immediately,” Izzo stated.

One suggestion was to spray one’s clothing with Permethrimd. Be very careful not to inhale this chemical, as it is highly poisonous. Spray clothing outside and then let it dry there. The treated clothing will keep the ticks away from one’s person.

Ironic as it may seem, two members present were stricken by tick bites that resulted in adverse consequences.

“The fever was the consistent thing. Then cramps developed in my legs. I couldn’t talk or eat. I even had to have someone teach me to eat,” stated Ligonier resident Ray Speicher. “I even got Bells Palsy. I was on antibiotics for five weeks. My wife and I both had a farm in Donegal that we ended up selling as a result of a bout with ticks.”

Hank Balles, Ligonier, stated, “I was more tired before I went to bed. The aches and pains were terrible.”

Izzo suggested that those who venture out into the wild should wear long sleeve shirts, a hat with plenty of covering and tuck one’s pants into one’s boots.”

- Paul J. Volkmann
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