|By Jim Hook, Public Opinion, Chambersburg, Pa.|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
The diagnosis is politically charged. Researchers debate its existence. Treatment is controversial.
"It is very real and is affecting a lot of people in the area," said Negley, after a four-month treatment in the
Lyme disease is the most commonly reported illness spread by animals to humans in America, according to the
Lyme can develop into something way beyond a rash from a tick bite.
Negely isn't sure how he got the disease. He hunted. He worked in his backyard and on his small farm. He mowed grass along the township roads.
What's more important, he said, is that little is being done to research or control the disease.
Last year a CDC study estimated that 300,000 Americans are infected annually, 10 times more than has been reported.
"Lyme disease should be recognized as a virulent epidemic that is at least six times more common than HIV/AIDS," according to
June and July is the prime season for Lyme infections.
--You're only twice as likely to be injured in a vehicle crash as to contract Lyme in
--You're seven times more likely to contract Lyme than West Nile.
The state has spent nothing on Lyme disease surveillance and education, but more than
That will change. Gov.
Based on statewide data, 50 people in
"This is one of the hot spots for Lyme disease in south-central
A majority of the patients that Stonsifer sees for Lyme disease "are reaching out because they've been sick for so long."
He said about half his patient load is related to Lyme disease.
About 10 to 20 percent of patients treated initially for Lyme disease have symptoms that linger, sometimes for more than six months, according to the CDC. The CDC does not have an answer for this long-term effect, or "Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome."
The symptoms include fatigue, pain, or joint and muscle aches. Negley has had them all, and then some.
Negley was not treated initially for Lyme disease.