Lyme disease task force meeting draws experts, families
The new statewide Lyme disease task force drew both local families and people from out of state to its first meeting in Purcellville Nov. 30.
Experts and local families testified about how the common disease is often misdiagnosed and untreated, leading to years of chronic complications.
The average person with Lyme disease goes undiagnosed for 1.8 years, with some suffering as long as eight to 10 years without diagnosis and treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 28 percent of doctors misdiagnose the bulls-eye rash associated with Lyme disease as eczema.
The disease is especially prevalent in Loudoun, and nearby states are looking to Virginia for advances in prevention, treatment and quick diagnosis.
“Most of us in Frederick come down to Loudoun because you guys are way ahead of us,” Maryland resident and registered nurse Linda Adams said. Adams has had Lyme disease for eight years, and her husband and 18-year-old daughter also have it.
“I’m glad the Virginia governor has set this up,” she said.
Adams is getting her nursing license renewed after 22 years of being a homeschooling mother. She hopes to pursue Lyme disease research.
Debbie McCabe, also of Maryland, is a director of the Family Wellness department of the National Integrated Health Associates, in Washington, D.C. Her entire family, including her four children, has Lyme disease.
“We have a huge number of Lyme disease patients and probably half of them come from Virginia,” McCabe said. “It seems like the other half come from Maryland.”
McCabe hopes the new task force will signal a trend in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease more quickly.
“It’s a huge issue,” she said.
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