Dear Government Officials:
I recently visited Washington DC for a rally in May, 2011 concerning a very serious issue. I’m writing to you as a concerned Arkansas resident who’s been in the trenches in the war against Lyme disease and appealing to you to please hear our voices. Since first contracting the illness in May of 2010, I’ve been in contact with many other Arkansas residents who are afflicted with the disease. Hundreds of individuals in the state are sick, including children, not to mention those who are misdiagnosed or dismissed as “mental patients”. This is not only a state-wide issue, but a national epidemic as well, with as many as 300,000 individuals affected last year. The serology testing for the disease is inaccurate and under great debate since diagnosis cannot be based on testing alone, as the CDC states it is a “clinical diagnosis”.
Here are my concerns. The state of Arkansas is not addressing the issue of Lyme Disease as a serious problem. According to the Arkansas Dept. of Health website, they have documented 23 cases of Lyme since 2004, which seems grossly under-reported. In addition, they did NOT report all the Lyme cases to the Center for Disease Control. The statistics on the CDC website show Arkansas reported only 1 case since 2004. Strangely enough, the Arkansas State Health Department website reports OTHER tick borne diseases like Ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in increasing and alarming numbers since 2004.
I’d like to share with you a comment left on Part 2 of my article “The Hushed Truth About Lyme Disease” ( http://hubpages.com/hub/Hushed-Truth-About-Lyme-Disease-My-Story-Part-2 )
“…Lyme is very alive in AR so don’t let them tell you differently. When my dad called the state health dept to report my case they told him they would rather not because AR is the natural state and it’s economy [is] based on people coming to hike, float the Buffalo, and other outdoor activities, so they don’t like to report such things. Yeah…..I was shocked as well. So much so that I called the head of the dept myself who oddly was a vet [Veterinarian] (human state health dept and head a vet???) Anyway, he repeated the same words to me. Yes, I am on the list just so you know. There’s nothing right about hiding and misleading people. We are in a very sad situation in AR, as it’s one of just five hot spots in the nation for Lyme but diagnosed as some type of autoimmune disease. Scary….”
This is just one example of reports from Arkansas residents. Our numbers are great, but the illness is not being acknowledged. According to one source, (a woman from Ashdown, AR with chronic Lyme), UMAS actually refused to treat her. I hear many stories such as this, not only in Arkansas, but other states as well. I’m imploring you as a government official to please recognize our plight and help us create an Arkansas task force to investigate the seriousness of this disease and give it the recognition it deserves to warn our residents that Lyme Disease is alive and well in Arkansas, despite being ignored, unreported, misdiagnosed, and concealed.
I’d like to remind you that this is a very serious disease that disables individuals if left untreated or misdiagnosed. Please research the subject with an objective outlook. We need your help and recognition.
Arklatex Lyme Disease Prevention & Support
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