Allegheny County’s tick collector warns of Lyme disease risks
Pam Panchak / Post-Gazette
AUG 7, 2020
After dragging a swath of white cloth the size of a doormat through the forest duff along a shaded, onetime bridle trail now well used by walkers and joggers in Hartwood Acres county park, Leah Lamonte had her tweezers out.
Ms. Lamonte is the vector control program coordinator for the Allegheny County Health Department, and the specks she plucked from the “drag cloth” last week looked like smudges of finely ground black pepper. Except they were moving.
As she delicately grabbed each tiny crawling dot and dropped it into a clear plastic vial filled with alcohol, she explained that she was collecting ticks, especially blacklegged ticks, the kind that carry Lyme disease and pass it to thousands of Pennsylvanians every year. (See link for article)
Lamonte states she’s finding ticks in every one of the city and county parks.
She rightly assumes that every time she’s been in a park she’s been exposed to Lyme (if not other things as well).
According to their results, 25% of nymphal deer ticks carry Lyme, while 50% of adults do. She states this is because adults have had two blood meals thereby increasing their risk.