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Tick talk thanks

I would like to express a very special “thank you” to Brad and Cati Norris of Malibu Health and Rehabilitation for their hosting of Saturday evening’s charitable event which raised money for Lyme Disease research and education.

Lyme disease has affected many of our friends and family members within the local area. Yet we are continually being told that there is no Lyme Disease in Southern California. A historical overview proves quite the contrary.

Ticks have been in existence since the Ice Age. They are carried worldwide by migratory birds, thus expanding the cycle to large animals, rodents, house pets, etc. Lyme Disease has been identified in European medical literature since the 1800s, but only recently recognized in the United States since the 1970s, by Polly Murry of Lyme, Conn. Polly is a mother like myself who suspected that an infectious agent was making people in her community sick.

Lyme Disease is a multisystem disorder. The lyme spirochete spreads to the central nervous system within a matter of hours following a bite. The tick may be as tiny as a point of a pin. Only about 50 percent of the patients exhibit a rash.

Lyme disease is a clinical diagnosis, based on symptoms. A person may test negative and still have Lyme disease. There is a list of approximately 41 symptoms, everything including memory impairment, intermittent joint and muscle pains, stomach aches, seizure episode, eye disorders, fatigue, cardiac manifestation, endocrine problems, etc. A person may have just one symptom and still have Lyme disease. I have met patients who become ill immediately, and others who take years before the onset of symptoms. This is because the Lyme bacterium can lie dormant for months. Many patients live with subclinical symptoms their entire lives.

I was misdiagnosed with everything: rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, dental jaw pain, attention deficit disorder, depression. “This is what over-40 feels like, go home and live with it!” I have been under oral combination antibiotic treatment for over three years. There is no cure for disseminated or late Lyme disease.

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Since Lyme disease is the fastest growing infectious disease next to AIDS and the No. 1 vector-borne disease in the United States, public awareness and physician education programs are essential to this preventable disease, which can be acquired by anyone who ventures outdoors.

In addition, thank you to Dr. Jeff Harris for his sensitivity and responsiveness in recognizing and treating the wide range of symptoms caused by Lyme disease and related tick disorders.

Barbara Barsocchini

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The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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