It’s Time to Get Serious about Tick-Borne Diseases
In the 1980s, the fight against AIDS was tragically delayed, in part because the virus primarily affected the marginalized populations of drug addicts and gay men.
Today another epidemic rages unchecked: the number of Lyme disease cases has doubled since 2004, for a total of over 400,000. The victims are mainly residents of suburban and rural enclaves—93 percent white, many middle-class, and surely an atypical disenfranchised group.
These people, including many children, are infected by ticks in backyards and on playgrounds, while walking their dog or visiting a park. At least 10 to 20 percent stay sick for a year, with 5 percent still suffering 15 years later—this among patients receiving early treatment, who have the best outcomes. Brain inflammation, nerve damage and “severe” functional impairment have been documented.