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Warning about Lyme disease

November 20, 2013

I am writing to your readers regarding Lyme disease. Discovered in 1975, it has become prevalent in the northeast. In New York, Columbia and Greene counties have the highest rate per capita in the country. I am a transplant from Long Island where a lot of people I know have contracted Lyme disease and have been completely misdiagnosed by their doctors with a host of illnesses from psychiatric disorders to rheumatoid arthritis, with dozens of illnesses in between. (There are over 300 illnesses that mimic Lyme disease.)

Even after being treated with antibiotics upwards of 25% of patients still experience symptoms months, even years, after they contracted the disease. It’s quite plain to me that we just don’t know enough about this most debilitating disease. There are many people walking around out there who are suffering from what’s called Lyme flare-ups. People have the impression that you need to see a bulls eye or rash on their body, which is simply not true. All I can say is talk to your doctor if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms. If you are as fortunate as I am to have a doctor who actually listens to you and is willing to think outside the box, you may just have Lyme disease. It’s a simple blood test. Have it done.

We are lucky to have at least two people representing us regarding this issue: U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Chris Gibson. Their offices have been working closely with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta to figure out how to control this disease. Last year over 300,000 cases were reported in the U.S. That’s 10 times what’s been reported in previous years. That sounds like an epidemic to me. Get yourself checked out, along with your children. And above all, check your body for ticks.

I have had Lyme disease and I can assure you it’s no walk in the park.

Harold Kelly
Preston Hollow, NY