TOUCHED BY LYME: Lyme in them thar zip codes
A steady stream of responses has flowed into my email box regarding my previous blog post “No Lyme in (your zip code here).” What follows are quotes from your different emails:
- “I was bitten by a tick on a hike in Tiburon (Marin County). Although I removed the tick and took it to my doctor, she refused not only to test me, but to test the tick. (There is NO Lyme disease in California, AND, this is not the right kind of tick, was her response). Nine years and many strange symptoms later I was diagnosed with Lyme, bartonella, babesia and ehrlichia.”
- “I live in MontereyCounty and used to hike quite regularly in the surrounding hills which were infested with ticks. One day I stopped counting the number I brushed off my pants after it reached 100. Later, when I mentioned to my lawyer that I had chronic Lyme, he said, ‘There is no Lyme in California.'”
- “I am a vet tech, and I got bitten in Gold Run, in the foothills of the Sierra….Almost every dog that comes into our clinic tests positive for exposure to Lyme.”
- “I was definitely in San Francisco when I was bitten and later discovered a nymph tick walking away from the bite site. It may have been from an afternoon of gardening a few days earlier. My primary doctor said I didn’t need to worry, but within 2- 3 weeks I had multiple symptoms of Lyme. A year later, I captured an Ixodes nymph tick on my glove while pruning a shrub in San Francisco, in the suburban West of Twin Peaks area, an area with lawns and gardens, trees, hedges, and plenty of birds, rodents and other wildlife.”
- “I have a friend who was bitten in the City of San Bernardino and developed a bull’s-eye rash on his scalp. He was denied treatment because ‘THERE IS NO LYME DISEASE IN SAN BERNARDINO.’ My brother was bitten in Riverside County, lived in San Bernardino County and denied treatment because ‘THERE IS NO LYME DISEASE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.’ I was denied testing and treatment for babesia recently while hospitalized because the ID docs did not BELIEVE in it. It is too rare and could not possibly be causing my fever, anemia, and drenching sweats.”
- “I contracted Lyme disease in 2007, while I was hiking off trail in the San Bernardino Mountains…When I finally got to see the ER doctor, my pain and inflammation were so bad that I could even sit on the gurney to talk to the doctor. My knees were horribly swollen, the left knee so bad that I couldn’t bend it to sit on the edge of the gurney. So I told the ER doctor how suddenly this all happened. I told him of my exposure to ticks and suspicion of Lyme. His response: ‘There is no Lyme disease in California. You have osteo-arthritis.’ A second doctor: ‘There is no Lyme west of the Rocky Mountains.’ A third doctor: ‘You have rheumatoid arthritis.’ Later, a Lyme specialist confirmed I had Lyme.”
The list of California places where you report infected with Lyme spans the state from north to south, and east to west: Sonoma. San Diego. Sequoia National Forest. Big Sur. Alpine County. San Luis Obispo. Butte County. Mt. Diablo State Park. Las Trampas Regional Park in Alamo. Plumas County. Vista. Placer County. Auburn. Folsom Lake. Orange County. Nevada County. In the Sierras during a camping trip. Hiking in the California redwoods. Humboldt County. Cuyamaca Mountains. Santa Barbara. Solana Beach. Mammoth Lakes. Nisene Marks Park in Santa Cruz County. Los Angeles County.
I plan to collate all responses and present my report to state health officials at next month’s Lyme Disease Advisory Committee meeting in Sacramento. Want your story included? If you have a California-related Lyme story (please read the Jan. 25 post for details), email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Put “Lyme in California” in the subject line.
Join the movement. Let’s put a stop to this nonsense. Lyme disease is definitely in California. Wake up, medical establishment, and call a halt to all this needless suffering.