Special Report: Lyme Disease

Posted at 5:53 PM, May 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-16 18:53:16-04

Insects are what spread the Zika and West Nile viruses. Lyme disease is specifically spread by ticks and you can get it anywhere, at anytime.

Cindy Rosales believes she contracted Lyme when she was 14 years-old but because this disease is still so mysterious in the medical world she wasn’t diagnosed until she was 26 years-old.

Now, she’s 29 and says she struggles every day.

It’s a disease that causes symptoms Cindy is still trying to understand. 

Cindy said "I had got bitten at age 14. I had actually woke up with a tick on my left side of my chest, pulled it off but as any bug, you don’t think anything of it."

That bite would prove to be much more, years down the road. Now Cindy says she spends more time at the hospital than she does at home, with her family. 

Cindy’s husband Santos said "The most common thing is just the nausea, the migraines, the body pain and the constant fever. So imagine having fever or having the flu every single day of your life. It’s kind of debilitating."

As Cindy makes her rounds visiting doctors across the country, she recalls a lot of them telling her not to worry because Lyme disease isn’t common in our area.

"A lot of doctors say you can’t get Lyme disease in Texas and obviously you can. I got it in Annaville. Corpus Christi, TX area." Cindy said.

According to a map posted on the CDC’s website, the highest number of Lyme disease cases are found in the Midwest and Northeast parts of the country. You’ll notice, not many are reported in Texas."

But as Summer approaches, the CDC warns insect borne illnesses —  like Lyme, Zika and West Nile — are on the rise. Tripling in 13 years, from 27,000 to 96,000.

Dr. Lyle Peterson with the CDC said "There’s many factors that are causing this increase, one of which is warmer weather. Whenever there’s warmer weather it tends to produce more outbreaks of mosquito borne diseases but also causes the ticks to spread into new areas as well."    

Cindy and her family understand the road to recovery will be long. She’s working to get better, taking her medication every day but she hopes what happened to her is a wake up call for the medical community to better understand Lyme disease. She says doctors dismissed her concerns for years before one finally discovered she had Lyme disease. 

Another factor? Increased global travel and trade. To protect yourself, the CDC suggests you wear insect repellent, control ticks and fleas on family pets and drain stagnant pools of water outside your home.