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Support group ‘takes a bite out of Lyme’

May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month and in an effort to put its mark on the cause, the Central Minnesota Lyme Disease Support Group recently chomped on lime slices for the “take a bite out of Lyme” challenge. Approximately 50 people attended – both those living with Lyme and their family and friends. Later, the group also released lime-green balloons to simulate releasing their frustrations related to living with Lyme disease. (Contributed)

Each year, approximately 35,000 U.S. residents are diagnosed with Lyme disease, and as that number grows, a local group of people has banded together to offer support for those living with the tick-borne disease.

The Central Minnesota Lyme Disease Support Group was started in February of 2014 and has since grown to 40 members.

“We work hard as a group to reach out to as many [people] as we can,” said Aimee Goodwin of Osakis; she has Lyme disease and suffered many years before she was correctly diagnosed.

“Though things have changed a lot since I was first sick almost nine years ago, there is still a lot of work to be done in the area of diagnosis and treatment,” she said.

“Our group is passionate about ‘awareness’ as early detection is the biggest weapon we have against this disease,” Goodwin continued. “If the tick is found before a bite, wonderful! If the tick is found attached to the person, and they’re treated correctly according to the [International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS)] recommendations, the chances of killing the Lyme bacteria is high.

“If it goes on undetected and untreated, it’s a monster, and much more difficult to eradicate. If that’s the case, then that person needs a Lyme Literate MD running their care. These are doctors who have been specially trained in Lyme disease by ILADS.

“Lyme disease is a growing problem for our area,” she added. Goodwin also recently authored the book, Victory, a Lyme story.

More about the Central Minnesota Lyme disease support group is available on its Facebook page.

ABOUT LYME DISEASE

• Lyme disease is a multisystem disease caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. The organism is transmitted through the bite of certain species of blacklegged ticks.

• In 2013, state and local health departments reported approximately 35,000 cases of Lyme disease, making it the fifth most commonly reported nationally notifiable condition.

• Research suggests that as many as 300,000 persons in the U.S. might be diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease each year. 

• Infection is most common among children aged 5-15 years and adults aged 40-60 years.

LOCAL SUPPORT

The Central Minnesota Lyme disease support group meets the last Monday of each month at 7 p.m. at Douglas County Hospital in the lobby conference room.

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

(320) 763-3133
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