State Senator Lisa Baker has plenty of friends and constituents that have been impacted by the threat of Lyme disease.
That was one motivating factor behind her decision to sign on as a sponsor to a bill that will establish a Lyme disease task force among several state agencies.
The task force will include the state Department of Health, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the Pennsylvania Game Commission. Baker, R-Lehman Township, hopes it will not only raise awareness on the threat of Lyme disease, but lessen the threat as well.
“I think we can begin to really look at how significant this problem is and identify the steps for prevention, diagnosis and treatment,” Baker said. “The number of Lyme disease cases continues to rise and Pennsylvania is near the top of the nation where the disease is prevalent.”
The bill (SB 177) passed the Senate unanimously and received only two negative votes in the House. One of those was cast by state Rep. Gerald Mullery, D-Nanticoke, who said he is well aware of the problem but doesn’t think money needs to be spent on a study when it is known which antibiotics work to treat Lyme disease.
“This issue really strikes home with me because my daughter recently had a tick bite and was put on antibiotics,” Mullery said. “Days later the tests came back negative.
“I voted against the bill because we know these antibiotics work. Why do we have to do another study when we know what works?”