Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by spirochetal bacteria called Borrelia Burgdorferi. Lyme Borrelisosis and other tick-borne diseases are seriously under-reported across the nation. Ticks, who are the hosts of Lyme Disease, are carried by mice, rabbits, squirrels, deer, birds and other animals.
Removing embedded ticks by the traditional method is dangerous and can lead to getting the infection. Ticks can be very tiny and hard to detect. Many people who have contracted Lyme do not recall being bitten. Prompt treatment with adequate antibiotic therapy in the early stage of infection may cure Lyme, preventing permanent damage and Chronic Lyme Disease. In some cases, if left untreated it can lead to death. Lack of early recognition, diagnosis, and treatment can result in permanent, physical damage, leaving many Lyme patients disabled.
Lyme Disease affects the brain, heart, joints, and other body organs, and mimics many other diseases. Many do not develop the characteristic rash, and symptoms may not appear for months to years following the initial infection. Many patients are misdiagnosed with other conditions including rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, depression, and psychiatric illness.
The science surrounding Lyme and tick-borne diseases is unclear and is still emerging, so testing may be inaccurate. Citizens, as well as medical providers, are encouraged to take all tick-borne diseases seriously.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates there are over 300,000 new cases of Lyme each year in the United States, 10 times more Americans than previously reported. Experts believe that the real number could be 1 to 2 million new cases per year in the United States.
During the April 28th meeting of the Calvert Board of County Commissioners, the month of May was proclaimed “Lyme Disease Awareness Month” in Calvert County. They ask all citizens to become better educated about this illness and how they can protect themselves from the infection.
Margit Miller / Calvert Beacon