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A Life-Touching Disease MAG
WhenI was five, I couldn't wait to have my very own puppy that would chase after me.When I did get one, I named her Lassie.
Lassie was active and everything aboy could want, but all that changed when she was a year and a half old. Afterseeing a number of veterinarians, Lassie was diagnosed with the later stages ofLyme disease. She had severe arthritis in her joints, and it was hard for me tounderstand what had happened. Since then, I have often wondered about Lymedisease, and recently found out it is also a threat to humans.
Accordingto the Center for Disease Control, Lyme disease is primarily found in theNortheast, mid-Atlantic and upper north-central regions of the U. S., and inparts of California. People who live or work in areas surrounded by woods; workor play in their yard; hike, camp, fish or hunt; or work outdoors are most atrisk.
Lyme disease is an infection caused by Borrelia burgdorfer andtransmitted to humans and animals through infected tick bites. Studies show thata tick cannot infect its victim until it has been attached to a host for 36hours. If untreated, the bacterium travels through the bloodstream andestablishes itself in tissue.
Early symptoms include a solid red orbull's-eye rash at the bite, swelling of the lymph glands near the bite,achiness, and headaches. Later, there may be more rashes, pain in joints andtendons, a headache, a stiff aching neck, abnormal pulse, fever and extremefatigue. These later symptoms cause arthritis of the large joints, neurologicaldisorders, and numbness in the limbs.
People with symptoms should, ofcourse, see a physician immediately. If diagnosed in the early stages, treatmentalmost always results in a full recovery. There are, however, a number ofprecautions to minimize chances of being bitten:
Ae Tuck pant legs intosocks, shirt into pants.
Ae Wear light-colored clothing to more easilyspot dark ticks.
Ae Inspect clothes for ticks; have a companion inspectyour back.
Ae Apply insect repellents directly to your clothing.
AeUpon returning home, wash clothing or put it in the dryer for 30 minutes to killany ticks.
Ae Shower and inspect your body.
Ae When hiking, stay inthe middle of trails.
Ae Clear brush and keep grassy areas mown.
AeLimit watering of lawns.
Ae Avoid plantings that attract deer.
AeUse insecticides if all elsefails.
Tominimize your pets' chances of being bitten, check them daily and remove ticks.Brush dogs and cats as soon as they come inside over a light-colored surface soticks can be seen.
Veterinary assistance is important in selecting safeand effective tick control products and designing a controlprogram.
Reasons for the spread of Lyme disease are not entirely clear,but probably it is a result of bird migration, mobility of deer and other largemammals, and infected ticks falling off pets as people travel around the country.I hope Lyme disease will never touch anyone's life the way it did mine.