WEST CHESTER (November 2) – State Senator Andy Dinniman will be joined by Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine, local health officials and Lyme disease advocates for a panel discussion on the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s recently released Lyme Disease Task Force Report on Thursday, November 12 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the New Garden Township Building.

The report, which was released in October, marks the first-ever comprehensive report on Lyme disease in Pennsylvania. It was produced by the Pennsylvania Health Department’s Task Force on Lyme and Related Tick-Borne Disease, established by Act 83 of 2014.Lyme

“A significant amount of time, energy and research went into this report and we are committed to ensuring that this report does not collect dust on a shelf in Harrisburg,” Dinniman, who co-sponsored Act 83 and serves on the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee, said.  “Our goal is to use this report to help steer legislative action and positive change in preventing and effectively treating Lyme disease. This discussion is one of the initial steps in that ongoing effort.”

Dinniman said he organized the event to continue the public dialogue on Lyme disease and thoroughly examine the report’s recommendations for strengths, as well as areas that need improvement or clarification. He said he also hoped the discussion would help raise awareness of the dangers of Lyme, the importance of prevention, and the need for the medical community and larger community to examine a variety of approaches to treating long-term or chronic Lyme disease.

In addition to Dinniman and Dr. Levine, panelists slated for the discussion include:

Lyme disease is transmitted by deer tick bites. The early clinical diagnosis and appropriate treatment of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases can greatly reduce their risks. Left untreated, Lyme can cause a number of symptoms that can become quite severe and affect every system and organ in the body.

The most recent statewide data show the reported cases of Lyme disease on the rise in most counties in the state and the presence of the Lyme disease-carrying black-legged, or deer tick in all 67 counties. For the past five years Pennsylvania has led the nation in reported Lyme disease cases.

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Senator Dinniman announces the release of the Lyme Task Force Report in October. More about the press conference here.

“Southeastern Pennsylvania and Chester County in particular are ground zero for Lyme disease in the nation,” Dinniman said. “If you or someone you know suffered or continues to suffer from Lyme, I encourage you to come out on November 12 to share your experience and take part in the discussion. We must take the stories of real Lyme patients into account as anecdotal evidence, especially considering the sheer number of cases out there.”

Dinniman also said that during his time as first a Chester County Commissioner and now a state Senator, he has connected with numerous individuals and families who have suffered the devastating effects of chronic Lyme only to find effective treatment through  alternative therapies and/or long-term antibiotics.

“It appears that we need to balance and thoroughly review the variety of current and potential treatment and diagnostic options for Lyme that are available,” he added.

The event is free and open to the public. The New Garden Township Building is located at 299 Starr Road in Landenberg.

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