If a tick is removed from a student at school, what happens next?
The Pennsylvania State Senate has passed legislation by Sen. Michele Brooks to create a standard protocol in response to a tick being removed from a student during the school day.
Senate Bill 232 would require school officials to notify parents in writing about the tick removal and provide information on the symptoms of Lyme disease. The notification will include the date of the tick removal and the recommendation that the child’s parent or guardian promptly seek medical treatment.
The bill also states that the tick must be preserved for the student’s parent or guardian to send to East Stroudsburg University’s tick lab for free testing for tick-related diseases including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever or Powassan virus.
The school also has the option of sending the tick for testing.
“Testing a tick found on a child can provide critical information to help medical professionals prevent the child from long-term or chronic effects from the diseases ticks can carry,” Brooks said.
“In keeping with my ongoing efforts to combat the tick crisis in Pennsylvania, I encourage anyone who has removed a tick from themselves, a pet, and especially a child, to place it in a plastic zip-locked bag and send it to the tick lab.”
Pennsylvania leads the nation in the number of Lyme disease cases. Approximately one in four cases of Lyme occur in children, with children ages five to nine being at the greatest risk for contracting Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses.
The bill now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.
SOURCE OF PRESS RELEASE: The Office of State Senator Michele Brooks
Editorial from Williamsport Sun-Gazette endorsing the legislation: Schools a logical ally in fight against tick-borne diseases