ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Fever, chills, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle aches, body aches, headaches, nausea, vomiting … sounds like the symptoms of COVID. But actually, it’s Lyme disease. And this year is expected to be an exceptionally bad year for ticks. In fact, because more people are spending time outdoors and in the wilderness, due to the pandemic, experts fear more people will come down with Lyme disease. We talked to one teen who is on a mission to educate, track and cure this life-altering disease.
This is a good day for 15-year-old Olivia Goodreau. But not every day is a good day.
“We call those Lyme days, where I wake up and I feel awful again,” shared Olivia.
Since the second grade, Olivia has lived in pain.
“I started to lose my vision and I couldn’t physically hold up my head and I had a tremor in my right hand,” Olivia continued.
“She could barely walk,” stated, Holiday Goodreau, Olivia’s mom.
It took 51 doctors and 18 months to get a diagnosis.
“I never saw the tick and I never had a bullseye rash,” said Olivia.
That same tick that gave Olivia Lyme disease gave her five other diseases.
Olivia shared, “I have Lyme disease, Bartonella, BCM, pot syndrome, relapsing fever, and an antitrypsin deficiency.”
Her doctor said Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, lupus, multiple sclerosis and even dementia. But there is one telltale sign.
Richard Horowitz, MD, a board-certified internist at Hudson Valley Healing Arts Center said, “You have migratory muscle pain or migratory nerve pain, tingling, numbness, burning, stabbing. That is the hallmark of Lyme.”
Olivia was on a whopping 86 pills a day. Her treatments cost more than $150,000. That’s why Olivia started the LivLyme Foundation.
“I realized that I couldn’t just sit around do nothing,” said Olivia.
Since 2017, LivLyme has awarded 49 grants as well as raised research funds for three of the top Lyme disease doctors. Olivia has now developed a free app tick tracker that lets users report tick sightings, in real time, hoping that everything she does now will spare another child from living with Lyme.
Olivia also helped pass a $150 million bill called The Kay Hagan Tick Act that President Trump signed last year. Kay Hagan passed away from complications from Lyme disease. The Tick Act takes a comprehensive approach to address Lyme and other tick and vector-borne diseases. To find out more about Lyme disease, donate or apply for a grant, you can go to livlymefoundation.org.
Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; and Matt Goldschmidt, Videographer.
TAKING ON TICKS: OLIVIA’S STORY
BACKGROUND: Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is the number 1 vector-borne disease and the number 2 infectious disease in the U.S. It can be very difficult to diagnose because the most common diagnostic tests are inaccurate about 50% of the time, especially early or late in the disease process. If you have or had a “bulls-eye” rash anywhere, or any rash at the site of the bite you most likely have the disease and immediate and thorough treatment is needed. Treatment is typically 21 to 28 days. According to the CDC, the presence of a bulls-eye rash is confirmation of infection.
SIGNS, SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT: Some signs of Lyme disease that can appear days to months after a tick bite include: severe headaches and neck stiffness; facial palsy (loss of muscle tone or droop on one or both sides of the face); intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones; episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath; nerve pain; or shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet. People treated with antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover quickly and completely. Antibiotics commonly used for oral treatment include doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime axetil. People with certain neurological or cardiac forms of illness may require intravenous treatment with antibiotics such as ceftriaxone or penicillin. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has funded several studies on the treatment of Lyme disease that show most people recover when treated within a few weeks of antibiotics taken orally.
POTENTIAL TREATMENT KILLS BACTERIA THAT CAUSES SYMTPOMS: A new Stanford study in lab dishes and mice provides evidence that the drug azlocillin completely kills off the disease-causing bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, at the onset of the illness. The study suggests it could also be effective for treating patients infected with drug-tolerant bacteria that may cause lingering symptoms. “This compound is just amazing,” said Jayakumar Rajadas, PhD, assistant professor of medicine and director of the Biomaterials and Advanced Drug Delivery Laboratory at the Stanford School of Medicine. “It clears the infection without a lot of side effects. We are hoping to repurpose it as an oral treatment for Lyme disease.” They have tested 50 molecules, and the most effective and safest molecules were tested in animal models.
* For More Information, Contact:
Richard Horowitz, MD
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