More than 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease occur each year, but only a fraction of those get reported to health officials.
“Most cases of Lyme are out of sight,” said Dr. Elizabeth Maloney, a Minnesota family physician who addressed more than 200 people Thursday at The Inn on the Lake in Canandaigua. The Finger Lakes region is prime for tick-borne diseases — the region glowed along with other sections of the country on a map Maloney showed identifying hot spots.
Many in the crowd had been directly affected by tick-borne illnesses, which come from the bite of an infected blacklegged (deer) tick. Bill Wheeler of South Bristol, who shared his experience along with others during a question-answer session, is a victim of Lyme, as are family members. Wheeler and others from the Canandaigua area recently formed a support group to help cope with the illnesses.
Maloney encouraged such support groups. The infection and disease are often hard to identify and treat and support groups can offer some relief in dealing with all that, she said.