Myöhemmin hänen lapsensa sairastuivat: Emma, 8 v: kipua kantapäissä, erittäin väsynyt. Sarah, 7 v: ääretön uupumus, tunsi olevansa "tulessa". Matthew, 6 v: päänsärkyä, kipua selässä ja jaloissa. Alexandra, 4 v: kasvohermohalvaus, näköongelmia ja valoherkkyyttä silmissä. Kaikki ovat nyt saaneet antibiootteja ja voivat parhaillaan hyvin.
http://www.patriotledger.com/articles/2 ... news02.txt
THE TICKING TIME BOMB: Lyme disease increasing in state and we're entering the period of highest risk
By DON CONKEY
The Patriot Ledger
DUXBURY - Marie Gill never imagined that something as small as a tick could create so much chaos for her family.
''It's been a nightmare,'' said Gill, a Duxbury resident. ''That's the only word for it.''
Within the past couple of years, Gill and her four young children have each been diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease, a bacterial infection transmitted by deer ticks that burrow into the skin of animals and humans and feed on their blood.
The disease is clearly on the rise in Massachusetts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 2,336 reported cases in the state last year, a 52 percent jump from 1,532 cases reported in 2004. Experts suspect that many more cases go undiagnosed.
State Department of Public Health statistics show that in Plymouth County, there were 318 reported cases last year, up from 170 in 2004. Norfolk County also showed an increase, 249 cases last year and 136 the year before.
October and November are two of the highest-risk months for someone becoming infected with Lyme disease. Gill contracted it in October 2004.
''Within a couple of days I was as sick as I have ever been,'' she said. ''I felt like I had the flu. Very achy and uncomfortable.''
She went to her doctor and had a blood test for Lyme disease, but it was negative.
''You rarely test positive right away,'' said Gill, 34.
In the ensuing six weeks or so, ''I felt like I was dying a slow death. I could not pick my kids up. I could have slept all day, if I had the opportunity to.''
Months later she was diagnosed with the disease, treated with antibiotics and her health improved. But she was only the first in her family to become infected. Only her husband Michael has been spared.
Eight-year-old Emma Gill's ankles hurt, ''and she was very tired,'' Gill said of her daughter's symptoms.
Sarah, 7, suffered from ''exhaustion, and she said her head felt like it was on fire.''
Matthew, 6, had trouble with headaches too, and also with aches in his back and legs.
''We had to carry him downstairs, massage his legs to get him up and
going,'' she said.
Four-year-old daughter Alexandra, then 3½, was afflicted with Bell's palsy and the right side of her face was temporarily paralyzed. She also had problems with her vision and was extremely sensitive to light.
''Her eyes were so infected that she could not be in any sort of light,'' Gill remembered. ''We reduced the light in the house so much that it was as though we were were living in a cave.''
All of the children were eventually diagnosed and treated, and are now doing OK.
Having seen what Lyme disease can do, Gill is trying to heighten awareness of it.
On Tuesday, health officials, experts on the disease and others will hold a forum on Lyme disease at the Duxbury Free Library on Alden Street. The forum is scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m.
The forum, which will be open to anyone, is an attempt to ''get the message out there,'' said Kate Eldredge of Duxbury, a neighbor of Gill's whose daughter, 4-year-old Leah, came down with Lyme disease two years ago.
Leah had not just one of the classic bull's-eye rings associated with Lyme disease, ''but had rings all over her body,'' Eldredge said.
Leah was treated for the disease right away, ''but she had gone through a period of extreme grouchiness, which was out of character. And young children can sometimes have a hard time explaining why they are not feeling right,'' Eldredge said.
Thomas Forschner, executive director of the Tolland, Conn.-based Lyme Disease Foundation, noted that the cold weather brings no relief.
''There is always the risk of ticks being there,'' even after the first snow, he said. ''When you have a January thaw, they come back and are active again.''
Snow cover protects ticks' nests, and when the weather gets warmer, if only for a day or two, they are back in action.
Forschner said people must look for more than just a bull's-eye rash when looking for Lyme disease. Some people who are infected never develop a rash. Some get a rash but, ''it can look like a lot of different things. It can be an angry red rash, it could be oblong,'' he said.
Other symptoms of Lyme disease mimic the flu. Aches and pains, swelling in joints, headaches are all possible signs that a person might be infected.
The bottom line?
''Don't get it. Avoid it,'' he said.
''This time of year, wear long pants, socks, and tuck your pants in. Use repellents. And if you come in from the outdoors, check yourself for ticks.''
Gill can vouch for the fact that even though you might constantly check for ticks, nobody is immune from Lyme disease.
''Whenever someone finds out that five people in our family got it, they are shocked,'' she said. ''I have lost the shock, because it has so much been a part of our life.''
Don Conkey may be reached at email@example.com .
Copyright 2006 The Patriot Ledger
Transmitted Friday, October 06, 2006
John F. Coughlan, President
Massachusetts Lyme Disease Awareness Assoc.
Cape Cod, MA