Lyme Disease is on the rise in Belmont County

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Officials at the Belmont County Health Department have already seen five cases of Lyme Disease.

And that count was only on the second day of the summer.

They say in 2001, they had one case all year. By last year, the annual count was 34.

Lynn Schrum, infectious disease nurse, says the symptoms seem to change.

Last year, most of them presented with Bell’s Palsy—partial paralysis of the face,” she noted. “This year, they all have a bulls-eye rash. But some have it all over their body, not just in one location

Lynn Schrum

Health officials for years have advocated wearing long pants, long sleeves, and tucking pants into socks when spending time outdoors.

But the health department’s environmental director says it’s not realistic to think people will follow that in the heat of the summer.

“So we advise using an approved repellent,”  Richard Lucas said. Schrum said this year’s patients have little in common. She says they range in age from 5 to 72. Two of them said they have spent time at Barkcamp State Park. Otherwise, they live in different places. 

Symptoms of a new case of Lyme disease can include a bullseye rash, fatigue, chills and fever, muscle and joint pain and swollen lymph nodes.But it can remain in the system for years and cause increasingly serious symptoms including joint pain, nervous system problems such as numbness and paralysis.It can often mimic the symptoms of MS, Schrum said.

Tests can diagnose both current and late Lyme disease cases.Schrum says the treatment is antibiotics.She says it is vital to take the entire course of antibiotics, even if they have some unpleasant side effects.She says they may be prescribed for four to six weeks or longer, but it’s important to take them to the end. 

They say dogs can also get Lyme disease, and can be tested and treated.They says there is a Lyme disease preventive vaccine for horses but not for humans.The tick that carries Lyme disease is smaller than a sesame seed.They say it’s important to bathe or shower soon after spending time outdoors, and to check your entire body for ticks. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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