In addition to conducting mosquito surveillance, the program also conducts tick surveillance in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The purpose of the surveillance is to determine the geographical patterns of the primary vectors of tickborne disease in Pennsylvania. Surveillance data is used to determine tick density and infection rates of the ticks collected.
Pennsylvania species of interest include the blacklegged or deer tick (Ixodes scapularis), the American dog tick (Dermacentor variablis) and the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum).
The West Nile Virus technician conducts spring, summer and fall sampling events in public recreational areas throughout the County. The technician conducts a “tick drag” utilizing a standardized felt drag pulled through areas of tick habitat. All ticks collected on the felt drag are immediately preserved and then delivered to the DEP Vector Management Lab where they are then tested for various diseases.
Ticks must bite you in order to potentially spread diseases. To reduce your risk of being bitten by a tick, consider wearing repellent when spending time outdoors in tick habitat. Perform a “tick check” upon coming back indoors.
If you find an attached tick, this pamphlet tells you what to do.
For more information on tickborne diseases, tick prevention, etc. check out the below organizations and links: