In this Edition:
Fighting the PA Lyme Disease Epidemic
Throughout my tenure holding elected office, I have become increasingly concerned by the growing epidemic of Lyme disease and tick-borne illness in Pennsylvania. In comparison to other states, this epidemic is reaching crisis proportions in the Commonwealth, with increasing reports of confirmed cases of tick-borne illness.
Absent a comprehensive strategy for prevention and both rapid and effective treatment once the disease is detected, the epidemic will only continue to grow. Fortunately, a state-wide Task Force on Lyme disease was created last year and they recently released a series of recommendations for improving the prevention, education, and surveillance of Lyme disease in Pennsylvania.
Act 83 of 2014 established the Task Force and directed the group to study ways Pennsylvania could “provide the public with better information and education, to create greater public awareness of the dangers of and measures available to prevent, and to diagnose and treat Lyme disease and related maladies.”
The task force provided several prevention recommendations. First, Pennsylvania should develop and implement a plan and funding strategy for schools located in high-risk areas to educate students on how to protect from Lyme disease. Similarly, a policy is needed for federal, state and local park staff and properties to communicate risk awareness to the public. Finally, the state should coordinate the distribution of publications for physicians to provide to patients when they are evaluated for potential Lyme and related tick-borne infections.
Several education recommendations were also provided as part of the report. As part of a broader education effort, Pennsylvania needs a comprehensive, state-wide public awareness campaign. As part of this education effort, an initial and ongoing program is needed for healthcare providers to educate them as to the prevention of tick bites, and prevention of disease progression from acute to later stages of infection.
The report also detailed a number of surveillance and containment strategies to prevent the spread of tick-borne illness and identified the need for state monies to conduct research and ensure early detection of disease.
Together, these recommendations provide a framework for Pennsylvania to address the growing public concern and the increasing prevalence of tick-borne illness. The Task Force report is a critical step forward in addressing this growing epidemic in our region.
Veterans Job Fair on Tuesday
This Tuesday, Nov. 10, a job fair for veterans will be held at PA CareerLink Lehigh Valley, 555 Union Blvd., Allentown.
The fair takes place from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and will feature many local businesses and veterans affairs groups. You can find more information and a list of employers here .
“Honoring Our Veterans” Plates for Motorcycles Now Available
Pennsylvania motorcyclists can support veterans by purchasing newly authorized “Honoring Our Veterans” special fund registration plates.
The plate, authorized by Act 17 of 2015, features the standard registration plate design in blue, white and yellow with an image of the American Flag and a Bald Eagle with the words “Honoring Our Veterans” at the bottom of the plate.
The plate is available for $35 with $15 from each sale going to the Veterans’ Trust Fund, which supports and assists veterans and their families through grants to service and charitable organizations.
You can find more information and application forms here.
Flu Season is Here Again
According to the state Department of Health, seasonal flu strikes between now and May, typically infecting five percent to 20 percent of Pennsylvanians. Up to 2,000 at-risk citizens statewide die annually from complications related to the flu.
Symptoms, which can linger for one to two weeks, can include fever, coughing, a sore throat, a headache, nasal congestion and fatigue. An otherwise healthy adult can unknowingly spread the flu one day prior to the appearance of symptoms and five to seven days after their onset.
Applications Being Accepted for Environmental Education Grants
Schools, municipalities, community groups and businesses can now apply for state grants of up to $3,000 to develop projects geared toward environmental education.
The deadline to apply is December 18.
Funded by pollution fines and penalties, the Environmental Education Grant Program funds projects such as creative, hands-on lessons for students, teacher training programs, outdoor learning resources and conservation education for adults. Click here for more information and applications.
Thursdays on Gary in the Morning, Pocono 96.7
On Thursdays, I am a guest on Gary in the Morning 96.7 at 7:30 a.m. to answer your questions. Thanks to everyone who has called in so far, I look forward to giving you updates in the future.
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If you find this e-newsletter useful, I invite you to visit my website www.MarioScavello.com for more information about your state government.
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