Take a bite out of Lyme Disease

Rachael Barham is one of many residents across the region leading the campaign to raise awareness about Lyme Disease. Picture: KERRI KINGSTON.

Rachael Barham is one of many residents across the region leading the campaign to raise awareness about Lyme Disease. Picture: KERRI KINGSTON.

RACHAEL Barham was a healthy twenty-one year old, working full time when she was struck with influenza like symptoms, which was diagnosed as glandular fever.

Four months later she couldn't work, was forced to resign from her job and move back home.

It took three long and tiring years of misdiagnosis before Ms Barham received the news she had Lyme Disease.

Ms Barham had sought the assistance of an innovative doctor who sent a sample of her blood to America.

Lyme Disease is an infection caused by the Borrelia spirochaete, a type of bacteria. The disease is transmitted to humans by tick bite.

It is often referred to as 'the great imitator' because it can imitate many other diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's Disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus and Alzheimer's Disease.

It has also been found to be an underlying cause in some cases of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia.

Lyme Disease can affect any organ in the body, however in Australia there appears to be a large neurological presentation (central nervous system and brain).

In an attempt to raise awareness and funding for improved Lyme Disease diagnosis and treatment Ms Barham has taken part in this month's Lyme Disease Challenge.

Ms Barham said the challenge is both fun and important.

"More study desperately needs to be done on Lyme Disease in Australia," she said.

"This Lyme challenge is important to bring awareness to this debilitating disease and hopefully one day Lyme Disease will be easier to diagnose in Australia."

The concept of the 'Take a Bite Out of Lyme Disease' challenge is to take a bite: Bite a lime and take a photo or a short video of the act - the more sourpuss your face, the better (and funnier!); Share a fact: State one brief fact about Lyme Disease. You can say them in your video, write them on your photo, or include them in your post; Pass it on: Keep the campaign going - challenge three other people - your friends, family, whoever, to take a bite. Mention them in your video or if you do a photo tag them in your post.

Studies show that up to half of all patients with Lyme Disease received false negative results. This delayed diagnosis means they don't receive needed treatment in a timely manner.

Children are at the highest risk of contracting Lyme Disease and are more vulnerable to central nervous system infections.

For more information head to the March 2015 Lyme Disease Challenge website: http://lymediseasechallenge.org

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