County-wide study looks to gage extent of lyme disease & other

MILFORD - A $15,000 Lyme Disease Association Award has been received for an ongoing field study throughout Pike County, of ticks that carry disease harmful to people.
Michael Mrozinski, Director of the Pike County Planning Department, made the announcement at the Commissioners’ meeting December 19.
The funds will be used for the Pike County Tick-Borne Disease Study. Mrozinski said the entire surveillance project cost is $47,000. Other funding sources are also being sought to lessen the impact on the county.
“We see this as a great benefit to be able to get a base-line of the issues here in Pike County. We have a lot of cases,” Mrozinski said.
The study started with Milford Borough, where 100 ticks were harvested and analyzed. The expanded study seeks to collect 1,000 tickets, county-wide.
Brian Snyder, of the Planning Department, reported that out of roughly 500 ticks collected so far, 36% were found to carry lyme disease and some of the others carried other pathogens.
Snyder identified the grant and made the application.
The project was originally part of a proposed, state-wide tick surveillance project over four years ago, that never occurred.
“We felt it was important to share this information with the community so that when people discover a tick on them, they can at least share this information with their doctors,” Commissioner Chairman Matthew Osterberg said. “We will share this with the medical community.”  The Lyme Disease Association also asked the county to share the study results with them.
The county has also tapped Act 13 funding for the study, which is raised from natural gas tax revenue that the state distributes to counties.
Commissioner Steve Guccini stated that we first became commissioner, he did not consider tick borne diseases as a high priority of his. He said he has since learned that Pennsylvania leads the nation in tick diseases,and a large number of local residents are affected.
Pike County Tick Borne Diseases Task Force was formed a few years ago to build community awareness through education, support and advocacy.
For more information,visit http://www.pikepa.org/tick.html.

[Buy the Wednesday, January 2nd print edition for the complete meeting report.]
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NOTE: There will be NO commissioners’ meeting on Wednesday, January 2.
A re-organizational meeting is planned on January 7.
The next regular commissioners’ meeting is set for Wednesday, January 16 at 9 a.m., at the Administration Building, 506 Broad St., Milford, PA.