Lyme disease infections on the rise in Texas - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Lyme disease infections on the rise in Texas

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Health officials say Lyme disease is currently the most common and fastest growing tick-borne disease in the United States.  (Source: KLTV Staff) Health officials say Lyme disease is currently the most common and fastest growing tick-borne disease in the United States. (Source: KLTV Staff)
Wednesday Ashley Metcalf enjoyed a day in the park with her son but a few days ago time outdoors ended with a trip to the emergency room. (Source: KLTV Staff) Wednesday Ashley Metcalf enjoyed a day in the park with her son but a few days ago time outdoors ended with a trip to the emergency room. (Source: KLTV Staff)
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of those infected with Lyme disease is on the rise in Texas. (Source KLTV Staff) According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of those infected with Lyme disease is on the rise in Texas. (Source KLTV Staff)
TYLER, TX (KLTV) -

Health officials say Lyme disease is currently the most common and fastest growing tick-borne disease in the United States.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of those infected is on the rise in Texas.

Wednesday, Ashley Metcalf enjoyed a day in the park with her son but a few days ago, time outdoors ended with a trip to the emergency room.

"We check our kids for ticks because they say when you live out in the country that's what you should do. We found one on my younger son's back and we took him to the doctor.Tthey pulled it off because you have to make sure you get the head too and if you don't they have a substantial chance for Lyme disease,” said Metcalf.

Since 2002, nearly 800 cases have been reported in Texas, but according to the Texas Lyme Disease Association, the number of people infected could be much higher.

"Even a tiny tick can transmit this, they are black legged ticks they are very common in the area," said Russell Hopkins, PHEP Director, Net-Health.

Since there is no test to diagnose the disease, many people never know they are infected. Health officials say to look for a mild fever, headache, joint pain, and fatigue, but a rash is the first indication.

"It has a specific look to it, they way that the bumps in it are raised and the color gives the physician an indication that this is a Lyme disease," Hopkins said.

Metcalf says that was the first thing she looked for. "When they pulled it off they said to look for the dart or the bulls eye by the spot effected," said Metcalf. Fortunately, her five-year-old got the all clear from doctors.

Health officials say if its not caught early there are major consequences."It turns into a chronic long term disease that causes an intense pain. Once it gets down to the joints and the nerves in the spine its going to be a very long time before you feel well," Hopkins said.

Health officials say if you catch Lyme disease early enough, it can be eliminated after a course of antibiotics.

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