Governor Evers signs bills designed to fight Lyme disease

MADISON— Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday signed into law a pair of bills designed to combat the spread of Lyme disease by warning visitors to state parks and other outdoor properties about the risks and making insect repellent available to buy in state parks and trails.

Under one new law, the state Department of Natural Resources would be required to post at least one sign warning visitors about Lyme disease at each state park, trail, recreation area and forest. The second new law allows the department to sell insect repellent in state parks and forests.

Lyme disease is caused by bacteria transmitted through tick bites. Symptoms can include fever, headache, fatigue and rashes. If left untreated it can spread to joints, the heart and nervous system, causing pain, dizziness, heart palpitations and inflammation of the brain and spinal cord.

The average number of Lyme disease cases in Wisconsin has more than doubled over the last decade. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Wisconsin saw 1,121 confirmed cases in 2018, the fifth-highest number of cases in the country behind Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut.