Ground Zero for Lyme Disease

The following online note points to Sam Telford’s OpEd piece, “A Model Initiative Against Lyme Disease,” which can be accessed behind the Gazette’s paywall …

If you live on the Vineyard and haven’t had Lyme disease, it’s a good bet you know someone who has. The risk of contracting the disease while hiking, gardening or just headed to the beach is at its peak right now, when the nymphal deer tick that carries it is most active.

As cases of the often-debilitating tick-borne illness continue to spread throughout New England and elsewhere, the Island — one of the earliest known hot spots for Lyme — should be an ideal laboratory for investigating, preventing and treating this frustrating disease.

Past efforts to combat Lyme through prevention and treatment have seemed uneven and inadequate. Among other things, the disease is tricky to diagnose absent the telltale bullseye rash that occurs in only sixty to eighty per cent of victims. Consider that two years ago the Centers for Disease Control reported only twenty-five confirmed cases of Lyme on the Vineyard, even though more than a thousand people had been treated.

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