Lyme Disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the United States – ticks carrying the Lyme bacteria are now reported in almost every state per the CDC.
(ROCKPORT, MAINE MAY – 10, 2016) – In an effort to curb the spread of tick bites, Project Lyme launched today as the first organization to focus on a national awareness program surrounding early prevention and early detection of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. The nonprofit aims to raise awareness and educate the public about this growing epidemic (and the most commonly reported vector-borne illness in the U.S. today). Project Lyme will get the word out on the preventative steps individuals should take to avoid getting bitten and appeal to people to start talking about ticks.
Project Lyme is founded by Heather Hearst who was diagnosed with Lyme disease 30 years ago in 1986. Ms. Hearst contracted Lyme where she grew up on the shoreline of Madison, near Lyme, CT. She spent almost a year in bed extremely sick as a young girl, and although her case of Lyme was severe, she was fortunate to be diagnosed and treated fairly early. Ms. Hearst launched Project Lyme in unison with ‘Lyme Disease Awareness Month’ in May to inform the general public about how to prevent this potentially debilitating and growing disease.
“Prevention is the best protection. I am dedicated to raising awareness and empowering people to become their own advocate in preventing and recognizing Lyme early on,” said Heather Hearst, founder of Project Lyme. “I want to spread the word far and wide about Lyme prevention and early diagnosis— even faster than ticks are spreading the disease.”
Project Lyme Video: https://vimeo.com/165027718
Project Lyme is clear in its purpose:
- Project Lyme aims to make Lyme disease a household name and tick prevention commonplace.
- Teach people where ticks really live.
- Know the steps to take before you go outside: What clothing to wear, what tick repellants to use, etc.
- Education: Learn how to check yourself and your family for ticks.
- Know the steps to take when returning inside: clothes placed into hot dryer, why to shower, etc.
- Learn what not to do: throwing your clothes onto your bed or furniture, etc.
- How to properly remove a tick.
- Learn how to protect your pets.
- Learn to recognize the early signs and symptoms and how to be your own best advocate.
- Learn why prevention is key and still the best way to protect your family.
LYME DISEASE – THE BIG PICTURE FOR CONSUMERS
- Lyme Disease is caused by a corkscrew-shaped bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi that is carried by ticks and transmitted to humans through a bite. There are over a dozen tick-borne diseases in the US, spread by nine different species of ticks, some even more dangerous than Lyme.
- Lyme is often called “The Great Imitator” as its symptoms mimic many other diseases. It can affect any system of the body, including the brain, nervous system, muscles and joints, and the heart. The “bull’s eye” rash that can sometimes be present at the site of the tick bite often goes undetected, especially on darker skin tones.
- Lyme disease can affect individuals with fever, fatigue, rash, nausea, migrating joint pain, headaches, cognitive problems, Bell’s Palsy and flu like symptoms. In patients with a weakened immune system, the disease can be more severe, even fatal, if not diagnosed and treated.
- The CDC reports that Lyme disease is the most commonly reported and fastest-growing vector borne illness in the United States.
- Lyme and other tick-borne diseases have now been reported in almost every state.
- Lyme is growing: There are 10 times more cases in the U.S. than previously reported. (340% increase in the last 10 years plus). There are more new cases of Lyme disease in the U.S. than hepatitis, HIV, colon cancer or breast cancer reported each year.
- Most cases can be treated with antibiotics when detected early, however, in the event the antibiotics do not work there is no real agreement among medical authorities and institutions over how the illness should be treated. While Lyme can be treated effectively with antibiotics if caught early, some patients suffer lingering, debilitating symptoms for many years.
- The tests are unreliable because they test antibodies, and these do not show up for about a month after being infected, making it difficult to diagnose.
Hearst added, “Project Lyme is spreading the word that tick bites are preventable, and if diagnosed and treated early, Lyme disease is more likely to be cured if caught early.”
- Stand 4 Lyme Foundation Event, Sunday May 22, 4PM, Woodside, Silicon Valley, CA (Sponsorship)
- Project Lyme Event, September 30, 6-8 at the Hearst Tower, 44th Floor, NY
In addition to the website, Project Lyme is spreading the word through a multi-channel campaign including advertising and social media where they share prevention tips, latest tick and Lyme news, personal stories and videos from survivors and people with Lyme, and other shareable information like facts and tips.
Social Media Campaign: #TalkAboutTicks
ABOUT PROJECT LYME
Based in Rockport, Maine and founded by Heather Hearst, Project Lyme is a global awareness non-profit organization dedicated to the prevention and early diagnosis of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. For more information, go to projectlyme.org.