Fighting back against Lyme Disease

March 11, 2013 1:51:43 PM PDT
Spring is around the corner and that means more time spent out of doors, but with the good times outside, come some concerns about insect bites, and the serious problems they can cause.

The public health crisis is Lyme disease, more common in the northeast than anywhere else in the country.

New York and Connecticut state senators joined together with the Tick-borne Disease Alliance and experts at Weill Cornell Medical College to fight back.

"We need to do more in prevention, we need to do more in treatment we need to raise awareness," said Sen. Gillibrand.

Lyme disease is an infection caused by the bite of an infected tick. In most cases, it can be cured with antibiotics if treated early when you have that classic bullseye rash.

"Lyme can present later and cause organ system diseases such as cardiac issues, neurologic issues and joint disease," said Dr. Roy Gulick.

Infectious disease specialist dr. Roy Gulick says 10% of people will go on to have mysterious symptoms that last for months or years

But that's controversial there's no great way to diagnosis it- some say it should be treated with long term antibiotics some say it shouldn't and some say chronic Lyme disease doesn't even exist.

"Tell that to the thousands of people who are suffering after they have taken antibiotics," said John McPherson.

Syndicated cartoonist John McPherson suffered from symptoms for 15 years before he was finally diagnosed.

"The worst part of Lyme disease it just sort of sucks your life away," he adds.

Your life and money, John has paid $30,000 for treatment so far- without a clear diagnosis insurance companies often won't cover it.

There is legislation in the works calling for federal money for Lyme disease research and education- but that bill has been under consideration since 2011

Senator Gillibrand says they plan to re-introduce that legislation in the spring.