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Experts warn Lyme disease cases on the rise in NYS
ALBANY --Before you head outdoors, beware. More and more people are getting bit by ticks, and those ticks are carrying Lyme disease which is more prevalent this year than in years past, specifically here in the northeast.
"Thirty percent of all cases reported have been in New York State and as of 2011 the last year we have recorded numbers over 8 thousand cases of Lyme disease have
been reported in New York State," says Chuck Schmitt, with the Cornell Cooperative Extention Office of Albany County.
But not everyone is getting properly diagnosed, because not everyone gets what's referred to as a bullseye.
"If the target is not seen and the tick is not found then long-term infection can be a problem for some folks certainly," Schmitt says.
"One of the biggest dangers with ticks that they're so small, they're the size of a poppy seed. They also like to hide out in creases behind your knees or your elbows, so some people don't know they have Lyme disease until it's too late.
"This time of the year the Nymphs particularly are a problem because they're very small and they are hard to locate and they are typically the ones that if they have Lyme disease they are able to spread it," Schmitt adds.
Lyme Disease is caused by a bacteria transmitted through the bites of infected deer ticks. Symptoms include fever, headache and fatigue. it is treated with antibiotics.
Experts say it's about checking everyday. Also being weary of pets out in the yard who can easily bring ticks into the house and onto humans.
"The exposure has to be a good 36 hours before it's spread so checking every day will help folks keep from getting lyme disease."
Marisa Wiedl is living proof of just how debilitating one tick bite could be. She was at an outdoor concert with her family back in June, little did she know that would impact her whole summer.
"I felt great when i went on the trip, and started not feeling so well the next couple days," she tells us.
"It just progressively got worse, I had a severe headache and i'm not prone to migraine headaches so it was a little scary. neck pain, fever, chills, and went to the emergency room as I got worse."
Marisa like many New Yorkers had been mis-diagnosed. They thought it was just a virus, and sent her home untreated.
"It went a couple of days longer, and things got worse, and it was more debilitating. I just couldn't function, my headaches were so severe."
Experts say Marisa is just like many in the northeast, specifically New York State when it comes to Lyme Disease. She like many didn't know they had it, because some ticks are so small.
"I did not know. nope the only thing I was lucky enough to have was the bullseye rash which not everybody gets," she says.
She tells us she didn't have the energy to keep up with her kids this summer, then things got worse.
"I unfortunately did have bellspalsey develop after i was home which is a neurological problem from the lyme,a nd that cleared up on it's own within a couple of weeks."
Her story is a warning to check every day.
experts say there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing lyme disease. First, check yourself at least once a day. Also wear a bug repellant with deet as one of the ingredients. Check your pets, because if they have been outside they can bring them inside and onto you. And finally, wear light colored clothing. That way you can better see darker colored insects.