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Looking at tick-borne disease

Penn State Extension wants to hear from you about your tick experiences.

The extension is currently running a survey to gather information regarding ticks and diseases transmitted by ticks through the end of the year.

The survey will provide educators with a snapshot of residents’ knowledge for a way to best deliver responsive programming to educate the public on vector-borne diseases, how to prevent them, and how people can protect themselves.

“Vector-borne diseases are becoming an increasing problem,” said Erika Machtinger, assistant professor of veterinary entomology at Penn State University.

“In response, Penn State Extension has established the vector-borne disease team that is dedicated to providing science-based information on how to protect yourself, your family, and your animals from vectors like ticks and mosquitoes.

“The goal of the survey is to better understand what Pennsylvania residents understand regarding vector-borne diseases, ticks in particular, so we can better produce educational material.”

Vector-borne diseases are caused by parasites, viruses and bacteria that is transmitted by ticks, mosquitoes, sandflies, triatomine bugs, blackflies, tsetse flies, mites, snails and lice

The survey is now available online at https://extension.psu.edu/tickborne-survey through Jan. 1 and is open to all Pennsylvania residents age 18 and older.

“We are trying to get a very broad range of answers,” Machtinger said.

The information collected in the survey is anonymous and will include just basic demographic questions about your location, as well as questions about tick identification and control methods.

Pennsylvania ranks among the top three states with the highest rates of tick-borne disease, Penn State Extension said.

In 2017, for instance, Pennsylvania had the highest incidence of Lyme disease cases in the U.S., with 9,250 confirmed cases and an additional 2,650 probable cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.