The Lowdown on Lyme Disease

Word last week that FSU quarterback Wyatt Sexton was suffering from lyme disease has raised a lot of questions about what that tick-borne illness is and what it can do.

There have been 24 cases of lyme disease reported in Florida so far this year, and two Tallahasseeans say you can now add their names to the list.

Sharon Wright, a skin care specialist and grandmother of two, was diagnosed with lyme disease last month. She says within three days of a tick bite she had a bull’s eye rash on her hip the size of a dinner plate.

Sharon says, "It was about this size and it probably would have kept on growing if I hadn't gone to urgent care and they immediately gave me Doxycycline."

Beyond that telltale red circular rash, the symptoms of lyme disease are like symptoms of a lot of things: fever, fatigue, muscle ache, and that can make it tough to keep tabs on the actual number of cases.

Dr. Marjorie Kirsch, Leon County Health Department Medical Director, says, "We don't have a really good way to diagnose lyme disease now, so we're probably missing a number of cases."

If you believe the state Web site, there have been just eight documented cases of lyme disease in Leon County in the past 10 years.

Stan Rosenthal says, "I was out of work Wednesday, Thursday. I tried to go to work on Friday, realized that was a bad idea. I've been sleeping a lot."

Arborist Stan Rosenthal was diagnosed with lyme disease just last week, and he fears in our lush landscape there are many who've been brought to their knees by tiny ticks.

Stan adds, "I don't think we should be so alarmed that we don't continue to enjoy the great outdoors; we just want to be aware and deal with it early."

A quick diagnosis and antibiotic treatment can usually stop lyme disease in its tracks.

Doctors suggest you check yourself carefully for ticks any time you spend time in the great outdoors, whether it's walking in the woods or gardening in your backyard.