22 May 2010

Lyme Disease on the Rise in Wisconsin


PEWAUKEE - Wisconsin is among the worst states in the country for lyme disease, and the number of infections each year is growing. 

A mother from our area is spreading the message about how one bug bite can change a life.

"It's just sad to watch," said Ronda Arndorfer of the Midwest Lyme Foundation.

She nearly lost her son Chris, who is now 24 years old.  Even now, he always seems sick.

"Relentless pain, headaches, jaw, it's attacking his organs," Ronda said to TODAY'S TMJ4 HD's Tom Murray.

Finally, a specialist in New York diagnosed lyme disease.

"He's going to be OK someday, but it's going to be a long road."

Like most with the disease, Chris never saw the tick that likely gave him the infection. 

The month of May is prime season for ticks.   The tiny parasites tend to linger in the woods, bushes and especially high grass.

"It takes at least 24 hours for the ticks to transmit the bacteria," said Diep Hoang Johnson of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. 

"If you check yourself over right away, you can remove the tick and avoid getting the infection."

"I look like I'm not sick," said Stacey Kremel, who is surviving with lyme disease.

"I have pain everywhere still, just get really tired."

As for Ronda, she is so passionate about spreading the message that she started the Midwest Lyme Foundation. 

This weekend will offer their first fund raiser, a bike ride around Pewaukee Lake.

"It's to educate the community, so no family has to suffer like we've had to suffer watching Chris be very sick."

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