October 13, 2014 |
Joshua Cutler had a thriving career as a network engineer for the federal government in 2006 when he suddenly fell ill. Cutler, of Winchester, Va., once had an active life as a young father who raced cars on weekends and enjoyed time with his family, but he suddenly found himself overcome with fatigue and feeling perpetually sick. He slept 18 or more hours a day. The consequences were catastrophic. He lost his house and car. His family struggled to keep its head above water. After a series of false starts, Cutler found a doctor who he said correctly diagnosed his condition as chronic Lyme disease and began a treatment plan that has made his condition marginally better.
June 28, 2014 |
Pennsylvania had the most Lyme disease cases in the nation in 2009, 2011, and 2012, yet no state-run surveillance program for ticks exists. A bill Gov. Corbett signed into law Thursday seeks to remedy that. The Lyme and Related Tick-Borne Disease Surveillance, Education, Prevention, and Treatment Act will establish a 20-member task force to develop educational and surveillance programs to be run by the Department of Health and other agencies. "This is an underdiagnosed and undertreated disease," said Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R., Montgomery)
April 6, 2014 |
Bob was 70 when he developed persistent fever, night sweats, and weight loss. He had recently been admitted to a hospital for evaluation. A CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis showed an abnormality of the spleen that was concerning for a lymphoma. He then underwent surgical removal of his spleen. No malignancy was found. He continued to have fever for several more weeks and was sent to me for further evaluation. He had no significant past medical history. He was married and driving a shuttle bus for a car dealership.
December 29, 2013 |
A 65-year-old avid gardener worked hard every summer maintaining his wooded property in rural New Jersey. He would spend hours outdoors, trimming trees and bushes, mulching and landscaping, and invariably would be bitten by insects. He considered that a small price to pay for the great pleasure of communing with nature. He also had grown accustomed to aches and pains after a strenuous day in the yard. This year, however, he felt more uncomfortable than usual. After several weeks of treating himself with a buffet of over-the-counter pain remedies, he became concerned when he developed night sweats and increasing fatigue.
November 24, 2013 |
She was supposed to be on her way to a neon-lit chapel where an Elvis impersonator waited to officiate at her wedding. Instead, the 27-year-old woman sat in a thin hospital gown on an examining table in a cold emergency room, anxiously waiting for news. A week before, she had gone to see her primary physician. She had been dealing with a series of strange symptoms over the summer. A curious, maddening itch. Achy joints from time to time. Vicious headaches that she supposed were like migraines, although she had never had them before.
October 28, 2013 |
Stanley Plotkin, 81, creator of the rubella vaccine, hopes another vaccine can be made to vanquish Lyme disease. Plotkin's call for a new Lyme disease vaccine is also personal. In an op-ed piece for the New York Times this summer, Plotkin, a Doylestown resident and professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania, described how in 2005, his son, Alec, was felled with a heart ailment caused by Lyme. Although Alec has since recovered, Plotkin urged patients and physicians to contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and encourage the agency to make a Lyme vaccine a top priority.
October 6, 2013 |
For Kathy Spreen, Lyme disease is a family affair. The trouble for her West Chester family started with her husband, who complained of fatigue and shoulder pain. Diagnosed with Lyme, he was treated with antibiotics and cured. About a year later, suffering with fatigue and joint pain, Spreen was treated twice for Lyme, which led to arthroscopic surgery and an eventual knee replacement. But when her 20-year old son Chris was rushed to the emergency room with a fever near 106 degrees and lapsing in and out of consciousness, she felt helpless.
August 15, 2013 |
Three possible cases of a potentially serious but treatable tick-borne illness with symptoms similar to Lyme disease have been reported in Chester County. A county spokeswoman, Rebecca Brain, confirmed that the possible cases of babesiosis are under investigation but would provide no additional details. A diagnosis usually depends on blood tests. Eight cases - all in eastern Pennsylvania, including one in Chester County in July - have been confirmed statewide this year, a state Health Department spokeswoman said.
August 14, 2013 |
CHESTER COUNTY health officials are investigating three reported cases of a rare, sometimes fatal tick-borne disease, including one person in serious condition. The disease is called babesiosis, an infection caused by microscopic parasites that infect red blood cells. Last year, 11 cases were confirmed in Pennsylvania, none fatal. There have been no confirmed cases this year. One of the reported cases this year is at Brandywine Hospital, according to a physician who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of privacy laws.
July 29, 2013 |
After a long day of hair, makeup, and corsages - all that goes with prom - Kelly Simmons was still beaming when she posed with her two high school daughters. But when she pulled off her scarf for the camera, unaware of the red bump beneath, the other parents grimaced. "Of all the people in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, everyone thought I would be the last to have Lyme disease," said Simmons, a novelist who spends most of her time indoors. Nationally, Lyme disease is most rampant in parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, because of environments suited for the disease-transmitting ticks.