CLARION — To educate local residents about the dangers of ticks and tick-borne diseases, Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong/Forest) will host a seminar with Penn State Extension experts on Thursday, March 21, at 6 p.m. at Trinity Point Church of God near Clarion.
“Pennsylvania continues to rank among the top states in the nation for cases of Lyme disease, which can be a challenging condition to treat,” said Oberlander. “Most people believe that those who spend a lot of time outdoors are at greatest risk, but ticks can find their way into yards and gardens and can attach themselves to family pets. That’s why it is important to continue to raise awareness and take proper precautions.”
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that most people get from the bite of a deer tick. If left untreated, the disease can cause very serious physical and neurological problems that are hard to manage down the road. Lyme disease can infect several different parts of the body making diagnosis difficult. Symptoms often vary from person to person. Lyme disease can also affect family pets.
Early diagnosis is also important in fighting Lyme disease. Most cases of the disease can be treated successfully with antibiotics, especially if treatment is started early enough. However, left untreated or inadequately treated, the infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system, resulting in increasingly serious complications and requiring intensive therapy.
The seminar will also include a presentation on the Spotted Lanternfly, an inch-long black, red and white spotted pest that is native to China, India, Japan and Vietnam. Sightings of the invasive insect began in Berks County in 2014. It has since spread throughout 13 counties in southeastern Pennsylvania, which the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has designated as a spotted lanternfly quarantine zone.
“Although we haven’t spotted this damaging insect here yet, anyone traveling to any one of the affected areas in the quarantine – mainly in the southeastern part of the state – should be aware of what they could track back,” Oberlander added.
The insect primarily attacks grapes, apples, pines and stone fruits. Adults often cluster in groups and lay egg masses containing 30-50 eggs that adhere to flat surfaces including tree bark. Freshly laid egg masses have a grey waxy mud-like coating, while hatched eggs appear as brownish seed-like deposits in four to seven columns about an inch long. Trees attacked by the Spotted Lanternfly will show a grey or black trail of sap down the trunk.
The church is located at 180 W. Trinity Drive, Clarion, which is off Route 68 south of Interstate 80.
Reservations are not necessary to attend this educational program.