Vermont regularly has the highest incidence of Lyme disease in the United States, and is considered an ‘endemic state’ by the Centers for Disease Control. When Lyme and other tick-borne diseases are accurately diagnosed and properly treated patients often recover completely. However, some Vermonters have experienced long-term health problems even after completing standard treatment.
One study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) revealed the quality of life for people with complex Lyme disease can be like that of patients with type 2 Diabetes or a recent heart attack. The study concluded “There is considerable impairment of health-related quality of life among patients with persistent symptoms despite previous antibiotic treatment for acute Lyme disease.”
Vermont’s children are at high risk for tick-borne diseases that can affect their learning abilities, social interactions, and overall development. Many Vermont families have difficulty finding accurate information about effective treatment for children with complex tick-borne infections. Children affected by tick-borne diseases can have symptoms that may not be understood by teachers, caregivers, friends or physicians. Children in Vermont with a tick-borne disease may remain undiagnosed, or can be misdiagnosed with other illnesses, learning disabilities, ADD, or emotional disorders.
Disagreements among medical researchers and physicians about the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease, combined with difficulty accessing medical professionals with expertise in treating tick-borne diseases, can make the experience of a complex tick-borne infection extremely stressful for Vermonters.
Many Vermonters struggle with ongoing health problems after contracting a tick-borne disease. Those who were healthy before their illness can find it challenging to change their lifestyle and resume regular activities. Some Vermonters become unemployed or isolated if they can no longer work, go to school, or participate in social activities.
You can help fellow Vermonters. Learn more about ways you can support friends, neighbors and community members affected by Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. 10 Things to Know About People with Lyme Disease.