Cases of tick-borne diseases rising rapidly in parts of US

Jennifer Reid lived with her husband and three daughters in a rural house in Ridgefield, Connecticut, when suddenly she started experiencing body aches and fatigue nearly every day. Sometimes she had trouble remembering things that had recently happened.

After seeing several doctors over 18 months, she finally received the correct diagnosis: Lyme disease. Her symptoms eventually resolved, but it took years.

Lyme disease, which Reid contracted in the late 1990s, changed her life. She went on to earn her degree in health promotion and community health at a nearby university, and since 2003 has advocated for awareness of tick-borne diseases. Lyme disease, named after a coastal Connecticut area where it was first identified, is her focal point.

“It has pushed me into doing things I never imagined and would not have done if I had not gotten sick,” Reid told The Nation’s Health.

For decades, tick-borne diseases have been reported in America’s Northeast and upper Midwest. But in recent years, potentially disease-carrying ticks have spread north to Canada and west to Ohio and Kentucky, John Aucott, MD, director of the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center, told The Nation’s Health.

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