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Did you know that California was 15th in the nation in reported cases of Lyme disease in 2003? This disease is mainly transmitted by the western black-legged tick. This tick has been found in 56 out of 58 counties in this state, and ticks have tested positive for Lyme disease in 41 counties. Studies have shown an infection rate of 1-2% for adult ticks and 1-15% for nymphal ticks, although the infection rate of nymphs in Mendocino County may be as high as 41%. Other tick-borne diseases (TBD's) may be carried by this and other ticks, including babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, and bartonella.

Prevention strategies include avoiding brushing against grass, not sitting on logs or leaning against trees, wearing light-colored clothing and tucking pants into socks. Deet can be used on the skin, and clothing can be sprayed with permethrin.

Frequent tick checks are essential, especially in areas like creases of elbows and knees, hairline and groin. If you find an attached tick, proper removal maybe key to disease prevention. You should continue to check yourself for several days after exposure to tick-infested areas, since an engorged nymphal tick may be easier to detect. Grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible with pointed tweezers and pull straight out, or use specially designed tick tweezers. Save the tick for testing.

Fewer than 50% of those who develop Lyme disease get a bull's-eye rash; many develop a flu-like illness. Some may only present with psychiatric or neurological manifestations.

Lyme symptoms can involve cardiac, ophthalmologic, musculo-skeletal, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems. Known as the "great imitator," Lyme can be misdiagnosed as ALS, MS, lupus, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, or even Alzhermer's and autism.

For more information, you may go to www.lymedisease.org or contact Marisa Battilana at [email protected].
 

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let's do that again...
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Good acurate post

Your info is right on track. I have lyme disease along with my wife who is a MD and my daughter. We caught it in western Mass. This disease sucks big. It can take your life away. After 25 years in medicine my wife is to sick to work anymore. I was one of the lucky ones who got cardiac involvement from lyme. It attacked my heart and left me with a wicked arrhythmia as well as disautonomia. Months of antibiotics and years of western medicine have not helped any of us. We moved to the desert to get away from the ticks in the east so we would know that we were not getting reinfected.

This disease is for real. If you live in a area where Lyme is present the precautions that Slayer suggested are a must. You can check the CDC website to see if you live in a endemic area at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/lyme/

Im new to singelspeeds this year, just built up a Explosif. Riding bikes is one of the things that keeps me going in my fight against Lyme. Spirochetes suck!
 

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Belltown Brazer
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I'm lucky enough to have had it twice...

and it was different each time.

The first time, no bullseye rash, no external signs. I would just get flu-like symptoms after a hard effort. I paid attention to how I felt and tried to eliminate as many variables as I could. Finally, after a couple of months I went to the doc and the test came back positive for Lyme.

The second time, I had a clear bullseye rash, and it hit me like a ton of bricks. High body temps (>102) for 5 days, until the antibiotics took effect.

I agree that careful checking for ticks is essential. However, at least here in the east, the disease-carrying ticks are very small...like pin-head size. The big wood ticks that you find on your dog do not carry the disease.

Without going so far as to create a whole bunch of hypochondriacs, another thing that is very important is paying attention to how you feel. As riders, we are already prone to paying attention to stuff like that. Unexplainable fatigue, or flu-like symptoms, or wierd rashes could point towards Lyme. Ramdom joint pain for no apparent reason is another big indicator...you'll be sitting reading the SS forum and all of a sudden your elbow starts to ache...wierd stuff like that.

In my experience, Lyme presents itself with a combonation of symptoms. Each one taken by itself is no big concern. Each one taken by itslef can be explained away. Together, though, they point to something more serious.

If left unchecked for a long time (like months or years) it can progress to the level referenced by the previous post. I have heard of people diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lupis, etc. I have a friend that was diagnosed with MS. The Lyme actually started to impair his vision (he was almost blind) before he went to a specialist that correctly identified the disease and got him on the meds...he is fine today.

One last thing: there are a lot of us parents on this board. Check your kids religiously. They don't have the body awareness to explain accurately what they are feeling, or perhaps they don't realize when something is wrong...you have to do this for them. Watch for the rash, but remember that the rash isn't always there. Check them for ticks!

OK, another one last thing: you are just as likely to pick up a Lyme bearing tick in your back yard as you are in the woods.

B
East Hampton, CT
(2 towns north of Lyme, CT)
 

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Man, that's some scary stuff. I caught Lyme disease two seasons ago and I killed the little bastards before they messed me up at all: I got the "bulls eye" rash a week after finding a tiny tick and I was at the doctor's office that day. It took another two weeks of hard core antiboitics, but I have no residual symtoms. My heart goes out to those who weren't so lucky, such as the person who posted above me and my girlfriend's sister. She has difficulties many yearts later and it won't ever go away. ALWAYS check for ticks, because many don't develope the rash and never know they have Lyme until the symtoms are bad. Good luck everyone.
 
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