2011 Assembly Joint Resolution 35
Relating to: recognizing May as Lyme Disease Awareness Month.
Whereas, Lyme disease is a bacterial illness transmitted by the bite of an infected tick, commonly known as the blacklegged or deer tick, which may be no larger than a poppy seed; and
Whereas, while people of all ages can get Lyme disease, children who are under the age of 16, adults who are 40 years of age or older, and individuals who spend time outdoors in tick-infested environments, especially during the warmer months of May to August, appear to be at greater risk; and
Whereas, the early stage of Lyme disease can appear within 3 to 30 days after a tick bite and may include a red bull's eye rash, fatigue, chills, fever, headache, stiff neck, muscle or joint pain, or swollen lymph nodes; and
Whereas, the later stages of Lyme disease, which may include arthritis (pain and joint swelling), neurologic complications, an irregular heart rhythm, or memory impairment, may not appear until weeks, months, or years after a tick bite; and
Whereas, Lyme disease can be treated successfully with oral or injectable antibiotics if it is detected early; and
Whereas, diagnosing Lyme disease is difficult because the signs and symptoms commonly mimic other illnesses, and the tests used to diagnose Lyme disease can result in both false negatives and false positives; and
Whereas, the best ways to prevent Lyme disease are tick avoidance, personal protection, checking skin for ticks and removing them, learning the early signs of tick-borne illnesses, consulting your doctor after tick bites, and controlling ticks in residential yards; and
Whereas, measures to prevent tick bites include using insect repellants with 20 to 30 percent DEET on exposed skin, using insect repellants containing permethrin on clothing, tucking long-sleeved shirts into pants and pants into socks or boots to create "tick barriers," and wearing light-colored clothes that make ticks easier to see; and
Whereas, because exposure to ticks is more frequent in wooded and bushy areas, tick exposure can be reduced by walking in the center of hiking trails and landscaping homes with tick-safe zones by using woodchips or gravel along the border between lawn and wooded areas and routinely clearing leaf litter, tall grass, and brush; and
Whereas, individuals should check frequently for ticks, paying particular attention to areas where ticks tend to hide, such as the head, scalp, armpits, groin, and behind the knees, and promptly remove ticks by using a pair of thin-bladed tweezers applied as close to the skin as possible to slowly and gently pull the tick's head away from the skin without squeezing, crushing, or puncturing the body of the tick, which may contain infectious fluids; and
Whereas, more than 20,000 cases of Lyme disease have been reported in Wisconsin residents since surveillance for Lyme disease began in 1980; and
Whereas, Wisconsin's reported Lyme disease incidence rate has consistently been in the top ten for states in the United States and has doubled during the last decade; and
Whereas, while the incidence rate of Lyme disease is markedly higher in the western and northwestern parts of Wisconsin where blacklegged ticks are more prevalent due to greater forested areas, recent tick surveillance shows that ticks are spreading to central and eastern regions of Wisconsin; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the assembly, the senate concurring, That the members of the Wisconsin legislature do hereby recognize May as Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Wisconsin and commend this observance to all residents; and, be it further
Resolved, That the members of the Wisconsin legislature call upon all residents to learn about the importance of tick avoidance and personal protection, tick detection and removal, the signs and symptoms of tick-borne illnesses, and the need for prompt diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease.