May 04, 2023

Commissioners Encourage Precautions During Lyme Disease Awareness Month

Lyme Disease Awareness Month 2023

Pictured (from left): Franklin County Commissioner John Flannery; Brooke Coder, Pa. Department of Environmental Protection; Christian Boyer, Pa. Department of Environmental Protection; Jason Goetz, Franklin County Mosquito and Tick Borne Disease Control Specialist; Commissioner Chairman Dave Keller; and Commissioner Bob Ziobrowski



CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – The Franklin County Commissioners have proclaimed the month of May to be Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Franklin County and are reminding residents to be vigilant in protecting themselves and others from the dangers of Lyme disease.


“Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases are a real threat to the health of our residents and can be a deterrent to enjoying the outdoors,” said Franklin County Commissioner Chairman Dave Keller. “By drawing attention to Lyme Disease Awareness Month, we hope Franklin County residents will take the necessary steps to protect themselves not just this month but throughout the year.”


Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by the bite of a deer tick (Ixodes scapularis). Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and skin rash. If untreated, the infection can spread to the joints, heart and the nervous system. In most cases, Lyme disease can be successfully treated with a few weeks of antibiotics, but symptoms take anywhere from three to 30 days to appear following a tick bite. Untreated Lyme disease can cause a wide range of symptoms, from fever and rash to facial paralysis, heart palpitations and arthritis.


Each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) receives approximately 30,000 reports of Lyme disease from state health departments, but some data suggests that as many as 476,000 people could have the disease each year. Pennsylvania continues to lead the U.S. in Lyme disease cases, with as many as 30% of all reported cases occurring in the Keystone State. Locally, Lyme disease continues to spread across all areas of Franklin County, heightening the need for increased public awareness.

According to the CDC, a tick must be attached for 36-48 hours before Lyme disease can be transmitted. Ticks in the nymph stage – which are active between April and August – are about the size of a pinhead, making them much more difficult to detect than larger, adult deer ticks. However, Franklin County residents should remember that deer ticks can be active anytime of year as long as conditions are above freezing.


Residents should take steps to protect themselves from Lyme disease both before entering and after exiting tick habitats, which can be any wooded or brush-filled area or areas with tall grass. Before entering a tick-prone area, individuals can apply insect repellent to their clothing or skin, based on product label instructions. Permethrin or the active ingredient in DEET are known to be the most effective at deterring ticks. Individuals should also dress appropriately. Ticks are easiest to spot on light backgrounds, so light-colored, long-sleeve shirts and full-length pants are optimal. Tucking shirts into pants and pants into socks also helps prevent ticks from finding and biting bare skin.


After exiting a tick habitat, individuals should remove all outer garments in an area outside of their main house, such as a garage, which will help prevent ticks from crawling from clothes into other areas of their homes. Clothes should then be transferred to a dryer and run on high for 10 minutes. The final step is to take a shower and perform a tick check, paying close attention to areas around the hair, ears, armpits, belly button, waist, between the legs and behind the knees.


For more information on ticks and tick-borne disease prevention, visit or contact Franklin County Mosquito and Tick Borne Disease Control Specialist Jason Goetz at 717-261-3855 or


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