June 13, 2015 |
Just in time for peak tick season, the Pennsylvania Department of Health this week announced that Lyme disease cases went up by a whopping 25 percent in a single year. Given the state often has more cases of the tick-borne infection than any other, this might worry anyone who spends time in the woods. But experts say a lot goes into reports such as this one, some of it concerning, some perplexing - and some reassuring. "We know Lyme is out there," said Atmaram Nambiar, director of the Division of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the Department of Health.
June 6, 2015 |
BRICK, N.J. - Standing in a dark hospital hallway, inhaling deeply and pumping the hands of her two young daughters as if they were confidence-boosting devices, Christie Rampone waited anxiously to be introduced at her hometown's World Cup send-off. In an adjacent Ocean Medical Center lobby, filled with colorful cupcakes, balloons, streamers, and little girls in soccer uniforms, an excited buzz became a shriek when the event's host screamed her name. As he did, a bazooka boomed and, through a blizzard of red, white, and blue confetti, Rampone emerged.
May 4, 2015 |
For Julia Wagner, conquering Lyme disease is personal. Eleven years ago, she came down with the tick-borne illness. Though most people recover quickly after a course of antibiotics, Wagner was among those who wound up with complex infections. Over the course of a year, she suffered dramatic neurological changes, temporarily losing her memory and her ability to express herself. Aggressive treatment eventually reversed her symptoms, she says, and inspired her to help others as president of the PA Lyme Resource Network.
April 5, 2015 |
She was 80 years old, and her blood pressure was out of control. She didn't care about that, though. She was more concerned about her feet. They had been red for a couple of months, and now they were getting "tingly. " They didn't hurt, and they weren't swollen. On exam, there was some redness of the tops of her feet that cut off abruptly just before her toes. There was some similar reddish discoloration of her knees as well. Her feet weren't swollen, and they had good circulation. I was much more concerned about her irregular heartbeat, so by the time I finished with an EKG (which was fine)
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.