TREATMENT METHOD UPDATED!
Infectious Disease Doctors Say Don't Wait!
TREAT THE BITE!
CBS Pittsburg, PA
Doctors Change Treatment Recommendations For Lyme Disease September 25, 2012 11:45 PM Share this Share CBS Local with your friends. Add us to your Timeline.
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Doctors are saying don’t wait – treat – because sometimes it can take a while to get diagnosed with Lyme disease. “So, we do see a number of cases that are delayed in diagnosis because the initial rash is missed or the symptoms are misinterpreted,” says Dr. Andrew Nowalk, an infectious diseases specialist at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. “By the time they get to me, I can see them a month after they’ve had their first symptoms or a year and a half after they’ve had their first symptoms.” Turns out, Lyme infection is becoming more common in our area, with cases surging in the past five years. “From 10 or 15 kids a year that we see here to almost 150 children last year,” says Dr. Nowalk.
For that reason, infectious diseases doctors at Children’s Hospital are recommending antibiotics right away for people bitten by a deer tick.
“Things have changed and I think the recommendation needed to change too,” he adds.
Christine McCullough had Lyme disease last year.She was treated within 12 hours of finding the tick and credits her doctor for quickly recognizing the rash.
“It had all the bull’s eye rings going around it and she immediately put me on antibiotics,” she says. “There was no delay.”
“We’re entering prime time for Lyme disease,” cautions Dr. Nowalk. “It’s important to make this diagnosis early, because the outcomes of the patients who are treated early are much better than when the patients are treated later on.”
Dr. Nowalk adds according to state testing, 70 percent of the deer ticks in a local county are carrying the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.
For treatment recommendations by Dr. Burrascano that you can print and take to your doctor- www.TreatTheBite.com
Lyme treatment method updated
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Posted: Friday, September 28, 2012 1:43 pm
By JOSH BOLLINGER Staff Writer
EASTON - The guidelines have changed regarding how to treat a tick bite, according to the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. The new guidelines state that people should get treatment for Lyme disease immediately after getting bitten by a tick, which changed from the recommendation that people should wait to see if a rash develops.
Director of the Lyme Disease Education and Support Groups of Maryland Lucy Barnes, who is legally blind from a Lyme disease infection, said the old method for getting treatment was bad because more than 50 percent of people don't get a rash and less than 10 percent of children do get a rash.
"Some people don't get diagnosed for 3 or 4 years, or longer, and that makes it very difficult, if not impossible, to cure it," she said, going on to say that if people aren't treated right away, the disease could go right to areas in the heart and brain and cause serious problems.
The cost of waiting for a rash to appear is much more damaging to health care costs for the patient, according to Barnes, because then they would need to pay for testing. If everyone treated a tick bit right away, it would reduce the $90 million spent on tests annually in Maryland. Barnes said 75 percent of people who take Lyme tests aren't properly diagnosed anyway.
She said some people get diagnosed with problems, like arthritis and fybromyalgia, when the actual root of their pain is Lyme disease, and getting treatment for a tick bite right away delays the risk of being misdiagnosed later in life and increases the chances of ridding the disease early. There's also a chance for the development of chronic illness, disability, or death if not treated for Lyme disease.
She also said that most cases of Lyme disease aren't reported. According to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 5,722 cases of Lyme disease were not reported in 2009. The total number of cases reported that year was 1,466. Had the 5,722 cases been reported, Maryland would have had the most cases of Lyme disease in the nation in 2009.
The Lyme Disease Education and Support Groups of Maryland includes volunteers who either have Lyme disease, or someone in their family has, and are dedicated to spreading the word about Lyme disease awareness. She said since Lyme disease can affect any part of someone's body, there are people with symptoms as acute as a sore thumb and some with symptoms as major as brain damage.
"We don't want anybody to end up like we have," Barnes said. "It's a touchy situation because of the treatment issues, but we finally got a breakthrough, which is a real good thing."