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Letter: Take precautions, stay aware of Lyme disease risk this summer
05202018 TICKS LYME DISEASE
This photo provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a blacklegged tick, also known as a deer tick. (CDC via AP)

My granddaughter was infected several years ago on a group camping trip. This was in spite of her mother’s presence and precautions (long sleeves, insect spray). She developed the rash associated with Lyme disease but her doctor in Florida did not think it warranted testing in spite of her mom’s urging. It does occur in Florida and Georgia. Most cases are in the Northeast but almost all states have reported cases. The blood test has three parts and is not foolproof.

The infection remained dormant for two years but surfaced after the child was given the HPV shot at age 13. That was over a year ago, followed by a painful, difficult period of many visits with specialists as her health declined. Other doctors declined testing for Lyme and so it was diagnosed only after many frustrating months. 

In this case, the disease became chronic and was not responsive to the antibiotics. Symptoms of fatigue, arthritis-like pain, and cognitive problems affect 20 percent of patients, treated or not. These may be autoimmune reactions to the disease.

My beloved granddaughter missed over a grading period at school. She was able to return the last quarter with a motorized scooter, required because of the pain and inflammation in her knees that arose from walking. We are so proud that she has been such a trooper in spite of having to curtail many activities, such as her areawide youth orchestra.

I urge all readers to read about Lyme. It is predicted that global warming will increase the annual current rate of 200,000 cases in the U.S. Lyme is not well understood in the medical community and much research needs to be done to curb this debilitating disease. The documentary “Under Our Skin” is also recommended and explains the issues involved.

Nancy Duggan

Cleveland

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