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FRANKLIN COUNTY — The Department of Environmental Protection is beginning a five-year environmental surveillance of ticks to assess the risk of tickborne illnesses across Pennsylvania.

The study is taking place in every county in Pennsylvania to track ticks’ habitats, life stages and peak activity levels and to test them for human pathogenic diseases.

The surveillance will focus on collecting three tick species:

The blacklegged tick in its immature nymphal stage, when it most often infects humans with Lyme disease, as well as human babesiosis and human granulocytic anaplasmosis;

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The adult American dog (Dermacentor variabilis) tick, which transmits Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia;

The adult lone star (Amblyomma americanum) tick, which transmits ehrlichiosis and tularemia.

The project is being funded through the Department of Health.

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