Concerns about Lyme disease this summer

BLACKSBURG, Va. – Lyme disease affects thousands of Americans every day.

The disease is transferred when an already infected tick bites someone and the physical side effects of the disease can linger for years.

One researcher at Virginia Tech is working to better treat patients.

10 News talked to one woman who is still dealing with the disease years after she was infected.

“I won’t get into all of the misdiagnosis before we got to the tick diseases but it turns out apparently I had Lyme for about the time I had been in Virginia, just over 14 years,” Kathy Huser said.

Before moving to Virginia, Kathy lived in Indiana her entire life.

She said that ticks weren’t common there and she had no idea how dangerous they can be.

“I came from Indiana we didn’t have many ticks in Indianapolis,” she said.

Huser said when she moved to the Commonwealth, a tick bit her, and she got sick with not only Lyme disease but four other tick-borne diseases.

“Two of the five are apparently gone. But three of them aren’t,” she said. “And two of those can be a little scary.”

“For me it’s the psychological thing. Knowing if this gets loose, or the wrong one gets loose and gets to my brain what can happen? It’s more of a worry kind of thing and I don’t know when I’ll know it’s over,” she explained.

Thousands of Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease every year, but for some, the disease has a much bigger impact on their health.

Friday, Virginia Tech announced it just received a 2.7 million dollar grant to study why some people have lingering effects of the disease compared to others.

This research builds upon previous discoveries and new treatments, like monoclonal antibody therapy.

Huser said now she is much more careful when she is out on the trails.

Her biggest tips?

“Wear the deterrent. When you get home change your clothes, check yourself over. Just be careful and be wary and don’t forget your little kids that are wandering off the trail. You got to check them and make sure they’re not getting tick bites,” Kathy said.

About the Authors:

Alli Graham came aboard the digital team as an evening digital content producer in June 2022.