Lyme Disease - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/31/07

Lyme Disease

More than 20,000 cases of Lyme Disease were reported last year. That's according to the Centers for Disease Control, which adds that since many cases are never diagnosed or reported, the real number is likely much higher than that.

Take Jan Morrison for example, she was treated for depression and memory loss for years before doctors determined that the real problem was Lyme Disease, triggered by a tick bite.

"I wouldn't even know where I was. I'd wake up in the middle of the night in my house, and not even know where I was. The report to my doctor said, well, she's probably add and it's just blossoming and but you should check for seizures," Morrison said. 

Jan took part in a special brain scan study at Columbia University and that's where they found the real culprit, Lyme disease. Bacteria from an infected tick had traveled to her brain.

"The person might look like they suddenly have a personality change. They might be more irritable or hostile, get angry easily. Or they might have mood swings, depression," said Dr. Brian Fallon, a Psychiatrist at Columbia University.

Doctor Fallon runs the only Lyme Disease research center in the country. There, at Columbia University, they're using imaging scans to look for characteristic brain patterns to see if some neurological problems might instead by the result of a tick bite that turned into Lyme Disease.

The first sign of infection after an infected tick bite is a red circular rash, like a bulls-eye. About 75% of patients develop that within a month of the bite. Other symptoms may include fatigue, chills, weakness, fever, headache, muscle or joint pain. In the early stages, Lyme disease is easily treated with antibiotics.

So, especially with young children, check for ticks after they've been playing in a wooded or brushy area.

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