Preventing Insect-Borne Diseases

Ticks and Lyme Disease

Tick identification and education on Lyme Disease

Erie County Department of Health offers free tick identification.

  • To bring in a tick for identification, place in a plastic bag. Do not put tape over the tick.
  • Bring to 606 W. Second St. from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
  • After identification, education will be provided on the risk of transmission of Lyme disease.
  • Call 814-451-6740 for details.

Testing ticks for tick-borne diseases such as Lyme disease

The Pennsylvania Tick Research Lab can test ticks for disease. Visit


Lyme Disease


Tick bites can transmit diseases such as Lyme disease, the most prevalent tickborne illness within Erie County, Pennsylvania.

Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and a “bullseye”-type rash in the majority of cases. If untreated, additional symptoms can include weakness of facial muscles, arthritis, heart palpitations, nerve pain or severe headaches.

More Lyme disease info from

Prevent tick bites

Black-legged ticks or deer ticks are the size of poppy seeds. Due to their small size, they are often undetected. However, Erie County residents can continue to enjoy the outdoors by taking the following precautions using the T.I.C.K. reminder:


  • Treat clothes and shoes with permethrin insecticide. Permethrin remains effective through several washes.
  • Insect repellent. Use skin repellents with DEET or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Natural repellents may not work as effectively or may require additional applications. Check manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Check for ticks.
    • Take extra precaution in wooded or brushy areas with high grass and leaf litter. Walk in center of trails.
    • Before returning indoors, check your entire body using mirrors for tough-to-see places. Ticks often attach to warm, dark areas, including under the arms, in and around the ears, behind the knees, around the hairline, around the waistline and between the legs.
    • Place clothes in dryer and tumble dry.
  • Keep watch for signs and symptoms of tickborne illnesses. If you develop symptoms within several weeks of a tick bite, contact your healthcare provider.

Remove ticks

If you are bit by a tick, remove the tick as soon as possible by using tweezers to pull firmly on the head of the tick in a steady, upward direction. Clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.

More info on ticks

Northwest Pennsylvania Tick Taskforce

The Erie County Department of Health participates in the Northwest Pennsylvania Tick Taskforce, along with Regional Science Consortium, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Mercyhurst University, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Pennsylvania SeaGrant and Penn State Extension.

By collaborating with these partners, we aim to more widely educate and inform residents about ticks and tickborne illnesses. Current projects include development of signage and educational material, research, tick identification and tick awareness initiatives throughout Erie County.

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Mosquitoes and West Nile Virus

The Erie County Department of Health is responsible for the control of West Nile virus in Erie County.

West Nile Virus

Mosquito bites can transmit the West Nile virus, which can cause fever as well as fatigue and weakness that can last for weeks or months. It can also lead to encephalitis, a swelling of the brain, or meningitis, a swelling of the coverings surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Symptoms include headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea, or rash.

More info on West Nile virus from

Prevent mosquito bites

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. Treat clothes and shoes with permethrin insecticide.
  • Use skin repellents with DEET or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus. Natural repellents may not work as effectively or may require additional applications. Check manufacturer’s ­instructions.
  • Keep doors and windows shut or place screens on them.
  • Throw out standing water in containers like vases, buckets, rain barrels, etc. Cover trash cans and rain barrels.

More info on mosquito control

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