Pennsylvania leads the nation in Lyme disease. The state is responding with groundbreaking research

By Karen Hendricks

The largest study of its kind — focused on tiny ticks — is underway in Pennsylvania.

The PA Tick Research Lab, one of only three labs nationwide engaged in tick testing and research, is analyzing data from 30,000 tick exposures in Pennsylvania from 2019-2021.

The full study, expected to be released this summer, is not only compiling the tick intel, but is building prediction models designed to help reduce human exposure to ticks, and therefore lower future Lyme disease rates. That’s important because Pennsylvania is predicted to get warmer and wetter as a result of climate change, and ticks thrive in those conditions.

“We are trying to be on the leading edge of finding the next best way to combat the health crisis. This would be the first study — the largest sample size in any given state,” said Dr. Nicole Chinnici, laboratory director for the Northeast Wildlife DNA Laboratory, home of the PA Tick Research Lab. The lab is based at East Stroudsburg University and partially funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

Pennsylvania has had the highest incidence of Lyme disease in the country in 11 of the past 12 years according to CDC data. 

Continue reading, on WITF’s StateImpact Pennsylvania website, here. Story published on May 9, 2023.

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