Every year since 2000, Pennsylvania has had the highest number of Lyme disease cases in the U.S. Last year was no exception. In 2018, Pennsylvania had 10,001 Lyme disease cases, according to Quest Diagnostics.

The blacklegged tick, also known as the deer tick, is the primary carrier of Lyme disease across the state, according to Penn State researchers. Learn how to avoid becoming the next victim.

Luke Dunham of Wellsboro is certified by the PA Lyme Resource Network to present the organizations’ one-hour PowerPoint “DARE 2B Tick Aware” program.

DARE is an acronym meaning Defend yourself and property; Avoid tick habitat; Remember tick checks and shower; and Eliminate ticks correctly.

The information included in the Dare 2B Tick Aware presentation has been approved by the Department of Health and includes current statistics on the rates of Lyme infections across Pennsylvania and the United States; facts about tick habitats, life stages and their behavior; the different species of ticks and the different types of infections they carry; and prevention techniques to avoid getting Lyme disease and co-infections.

Following the presentation, handouts related to it are given to participants.

“The first ‘Dare 2B Tick Aware’ presentation I gave as a newly certified instructor was to employees of Land Services Group/Cunningham Surveyors at their offices in Delmar Township on June 26,” said Dunham. “The employees consisted of surveyors who work outside and are frequently in tick habitats. They shared with me that they learned a lot from the material I presented.”

Those who can benefit the most from the presentation are members of groups and organizations that spend time outdoors and are considered to be at high risk of tick exposure. Among them are Girls Scouts; Boy Scouts; police; birders; fishermen; forestry, park and conservation district personnel; Fish, Boat and Game Commission officers; hikers, runners and bikers; public school and college students who are members of outdoor clubs and organizations, church groups, etc.

To become a certified instructor to teach Dare 2B Tick Aware, Dunham attended a PA Lyme Resource Network webinar that included a review of the curriculum and the information in the PowerPoint DARE presentation. He then had to pass a written test and successfully give the one-hour presentation to certified instructors.

Local organizations interested in scheduling a presentation of the “DARE 2B Tick Aware Program” can contact Dunham by email at tiogacountylyme@palyme.org or by calling 570-404-8237.

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