Legislation to Create Lyme Disease Task Force Becomes Law
Senate Bill 177 (now Act 83) to help raise awareness of Lyme disease and increase prevention efforts in Pennsylvania was signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett on June 29, 2014. The new law, effective immediately, creates a task force at the Department of Health (DOH) to educate the public about Lyme disease and related tick-borne illnesses and collaborate with other key agencies.
The task force established by this new law will be charged with studying the issue and making recommendations to DOH within one year about:
- Surveillance and prevention of Lyme disease, including updating policies to recognize symptoms of Lyme disease
- Raising awareness about the long-term effects of the misdiagnosis of Lyme disease
- Development and dissemination of information for various audiences – the general public, health care professionals, school administrators and faculty, parents and students, and visitors to state parks
- Collaborating with the Department of Environmental Protection to test ticks, provide test results, and publish infection rates on its public accessible website. Determining the role of schools in the prevention of Lyme disease, including, but not limited to, prompt reporting
On October 15, 2015 Secretary of Health Karen Murphy announced the release of the Lyme disease task force report for the Commonwealth. Within the report, the task force assessed current research and made recommendations in the areas of public awareness, disease prevention and environmental surveillance. Please take the time to review the full report.