Posted on May 30, 2018 at 07:01 | Updated on May 30, 2018 at 07:09
Pennsylvania Department of Health Graphics
So, what's in the game?
Deer Ticks acquire the disease from rodents, especially the white-footed mouse. They then use deer to feed, mate and form babies. That's why Pennsylvania is a great place for these ticks because we have a huge stag population and many rodents.
But we also had a huge deer population in 2000, so why do we see such a dramatic increase in cases of Lyme disease
Alvaro Toledo is an assistant professor at Rutgers University, which investigates ticks. Although Pennsylvania often leads the nation in the number of annual Lyme disease cases, its home state of New Jersey is not far behind.
The increase may be due to "a combination of things," including more awareness of the disease and our ability to test more accurately than in previous years, Toledo said.
But the big deer and rodent populations clearly remain a contributing factor, he said. "If you have many of them, ticks can multiply and lay many eggs that hatch later."
The suburban top
We have reviewed all reported cases in each of the 67 districts of Pennsylvania and ranked the individual districts according to their total number of cases. In rural areas there is a high number of wildlife that roam enough game through the forests. They have become popular holiday destinations for Lehigh Valley hunters who want to keep their game chests full of venison. But the more populated counties, especially the suburbs and counties with large bedroom communities like the Valley, are hit hard.
The Pennsylvania Department of Health notes that counties may vary in terms of the resources they must devote to studying Lyme cases; only cases investigated can be officially counted. Therefore, the figures represent only a rough estimate of Lyme disease in each country.
67. Greene County
Total number of cases since 2000: 35
Cases 2016: 24
66. Sullivan County
Total number of cases since 2000: 52
Cases 2016: 17