Tick larva become infected with after feeding on small animals including mice. The greatest risk to humans comes from the tiny nymph, whose bite can transmit the disease.
Dr. Owen Hendley, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at UVA, is in the majority of doctors who say Lyme causing bacteria is killed by short term use of antibiotics, no matter how long the infection has been present.
Scuttle aside, cockroaches. You're losing your spot as the most
feared insect in Virginia, and your competition doesn't even look
that scary. So tiny it can scarcely be seen, the black-legged tick
doesn't move fast, it doesn't have a nauseating shiny shell, it
doesn't even have antennae to inspire revulsion. No matter. Its
fear factor comes from its status as host to a disease that, if
left untreated, can permanently disable.
Jo Ann Freeman knows first hand. The retired computer software
manager was looking forward to an early retirement spent traveling,
gardening, and fixing up a historic Afton home. Instead, she spent
nearly four years bedridden, unable to summon the energy to make a
phone call. Her teeth chattered, her hands shook, and she had such
severe cognitive deficits that she could no longer even read. Worst
of all, no one could tell her what was wrong.
"The tests were negative for everything," says Freeman. "I
thought I was dying."
After a nearly five-year medical journey that would eventually
take her out of Virginia, Freeman was finally diagnosed with not
one but two tick-borne illnesses including Lyme disease.
Freeman's not the only Central Virginian who's experienced the
serious aftermath of an untreated Lyme infection, and Lyme cases
are on the rise.
According to a recent warning by the Virginia Department of
Health, Lyme is now the state's most common tick-borne illness; and
it has increased eight-fold in the Charlottesvi...