Late summer is peak Lyme disease season.
During the past two years I have posted a series of articles on ticks, Lyme disease, and other tick-borne diseases.
Lyme and tick-borne diseases have been diagnosed in all 50 states, so even if you live outside of the Northeast, you are still at risk.
In 2012, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that thirty thousand Americans were diagnosed with Lyme disease—the most commonly reported tick-borne illness in the United States.
New data was released by the CDC last week at the 2013 International Conference on Lyme Borreliosis and Other Tick-Borne Illnesses indicating Lyme disease strikes 300,000 people each year, affecting 10 times more victims than reported a year earlier.
The new number was based on three studies: one analyzes medical-claims data submitted to insurance companies from twenty-two million people, the second is a survey of clinical laboratories, and the last is a more general assessment of people who believe they may be infected by Lyme.
The new numbers matter!
It’s now time for the public and decision makers in the halls of power to start paying attention.
In response to this alarming news, the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance (TBDA), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness, supporting initiatives, and promoting advocacy to find a cure for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, calls on government officials to allocate the critical resources needed for research and to focus on the development of a 100 percent reliable diagnostic tool for these devastating diseases, according to a news release.
“The new CDC report confirms what the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance and others have been saying for years—that tick-borne diseases are a national health epidemic and that we need more government research to fight these lethal illnesses,” said David Roth, co-chairman of TBDA and managing director at the Blackstone Real Estate Group.
“Furthermore, given the methodology the CDC used to determine its report of 300,000 new cases annually, it is likely that the actual number is much higher. In addition, the estimate fails to include those infected with other tick-borne illnesses, such as miyamotoi, babesiosis, and the Powassan virus, which can also cause debilitating symptoms, and in some cases death.”
“Everyone is at risk of contracting tick-borne diseases, and it’s important that mainstream America understands that tick-borne diseases are a serious threat to us all. Currently, there is no fully reliable diagnostic test for tick-borne diseases. So those infected often spend months, and in many cases years, searching to find the cause of their illness. Some never find out; they just continue to suffer,” Roth added.
“Whether we want to face it or not, we live in a society with a healthcare system that lacks both reliable diagnostics for tick-borne diseases and therapeutics that work for those whom the typically prescribed course of antibiotics fails. In short, the medical community is failing us, all of us, no matter where we live, what we do, or how old we are.”
Bite Back for a Cure has two elements—an online campaign and a national bike ride.
This summer and fall, 24-year-old Lyme-sufferer John Donnally is biking across America to meet others affected by Lyme disease and galvanize local support to fund research and educate the public about the silent epidemic of tick-borne diseases.
Bite Back’s online campaign will accumulate testimonials from those affected by tick-borne diseases. This “video quilt” will be sent to state and federal legislators, urging them to support Lyme-disease legislation.
Tick-Borne Disease Alliance (TBDA)
The Tick-Borne Disease Alliance (TBDA) is dedicated to raising awareness, supporting initiatives and promoting advocacy to find a cure for tick-borne diseases, including Lyme.
I tried real hard to play golf, and I was so bad at it they would have to check me for ticks at the end of the round because I’d spent about half the day in the woods.