Lyme Disease Registry Developed in Connecticut

This time of year especially, if you spend time outside you need to do regular tick checks.  Lyme disease is a big problem in Connecticut.

Suzie Scanlon of Ridgefield will never forget how sick she got two years ago.

"It was very clear that something was profoundly wrong," she said.

The single mother of two young sons says it started with pain in the back of her neck and blurred vision.   She eventually developed Bell's Palsy which temporarily paralyzed the left side of her face.

"It was not a pretty site and I was really, really sick,” said Scanlon.

Redding resident Laura Kutnick's son also suffered a serious illness.  It happened to him about ten years ago.

"What really happened shocked us all.  He was one of the better runners in CT and he was in the CT Junior Olympics.  He ran the Junior Olympics and a week later he couldn’t walk from his bedroom to the dining room,” said Kutnick.

Their symptoms weren't exactly the same, but both Suzie and Laura's son had Lyme disease.  And neither remembers the tick bite.

The difference between the two cases is that Suzie got a quick diagnosis and was better in a matter of months.

Laura's son, however, suffered a string of misdiagnoses.  Years later, he's still sick.

"If there's a flu in the summer and particularly if it's associated with a rash, the odds are Lyme disease is highly likely," said Dr. John Murphy, a neurologist and Executive Vice President of Danbury Hospital.  The hospital is taking the lead developing what will be known as a Lyme disease registry.

"We thought this would be an opportune time to take the community's concerns and do something creative around Lyme disease," said Dr. Murphy.

Suzie and Laura's son are among the first people to register.   Eventually the data base will be available on the web as a research and information resource for doctors and patients.

The hospital hopes to answer questions such as:  Where's the highest population of Lyme disease in Connecticut?  Does chronic Lyme disease truly exist?

"I don't think the answers are going to come from a single patient but really studying hundreds and hundreds of patients," said Dr. Murphy.

For those who have been victims of Lyme disease the registry can't come soon enough.

"If this is going to be a tool that allows the community to respond properly by doing necessary research, necessary funding -- this is essential," said Scanlon.

In the meantime, make sure you check yourself and your loved ones for ticks.

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