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Tick problem "inundating" LYME WNY with requests for tests

Posted at 2:23 PM, Jun 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-08 19:39:05-04

Lyme WNY was founded in 2016 as a volunteer group that wanted to help people find the correct information about Lyme Disease.  The support group was also testing ticks to see if they carried disease.  However, the problem with ticks is so great this year that Lyme WNY can no longer handle the huge number of requests for tick testing.

The group is encouraging people to use a free lab in Arizona called the Bay Area Lyme Foundation.  You can download information and find out how to have a tick tested for free through the following link: http://www.bayarealyme.org/lyme-disease-prevention/tick-testing/

Lyme WNY is asking that people report the results of tick testing so Lyme WNY can put together a map showing where there are problem ticks in Erie and Niagara Counties.  You can contact Lyme WNY through its Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/LymeWNY/

With summer recess only weeks away for school children, Lyme WNY is also working to educate students in Maryvale Schools about the importance of checking for ticks.  Even young children at Maryvale Primary School are getting the training.

Thanks to a mild winter and record wet Spring, the tick population is exploding.  Ticks often get on kids and pets but can be as small as a pencil point and difficult to find.

It is important to gently use tweezers to remove a tick, making sure its head does not break off.

The New York State Department of Health has information showing how to perform this procedure:https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/2813/

Lyme WNY is recommending that everyone either carry a tick removal kit on them or have one in their car.

According to the CDC, 25% of Lyme cases involve children.  Symptoms of the disease can mimic over 300 other illnesses like the flu, Multiple Sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

While it is commonly thought that a "bulls-eye" rash is an indicator of an infected bite, the Lyme Disease Association said recent studies of 6,000 Lyme patients have shown only 17% had the "bulls-eye" rash, 21% had other rashes, and many infected patients had no visible rash at all.

The most common symptom of Lyme Disease if fatigue, followed by sleep impairment, muscle and joint pain, depression and memory loss.

On June 14th at 6 p.m. in the East Seneca Fire Hall, 100 Lein Road, West Seneca, Lyme WNY will be holding its monthly support meeting.  Founder Rebecca Roll, whose own husband is battling Lyme Disease, said the meeting is a good time for anyone to come who needs more information about the disease and where to turn for help.

Reporter Ed Reilly has more in his reports.