Although this is an Aspen Snowmass real estate blog, in the interest of local safety and important information distribution related to our geographic area, I’m posting this email received yesterday. I spend a lot of time enjoying the outdoors, and I would want to know this.The source is Mally C Strong, Publisher, Mountain Medicine:

Date: Tue, Jul 28, 2009 at 3:35 PM
Subject: Lyme’s in Colorado

In late April, I went searching for a friend’s lost dog above the hogback west of Carbondale, Colorado. When I got back home I found a tick crawling on me and flushed it down the toilet.  Three days later I developed a perfectly round flat red rash about 3.3 inches across in the back of my left hip.  I had been bitten by ticks all my life–but had never seen such a thing–though I had seen pictures of the migrans rash associated with Lyme’s many years ago.

So, I went to the Colorado Center for Disease Control website and was informed that there was no Lyme’s disease in Colorado. Given this information from a source I trusted, I passed off the rash as an allergic reaction and tried to put it out of my mind.  But, I was aware that I had less vitality, that my aches and pains seemed to be growing every day, first the small joints, then the large,cognitive issues, I suddenly had problems making a dollar out of coins–it was getting bad. I stayed active–aware that I didn’t want to become depressed. Finally, I told myself, yes, I’m 49–but no one can expect to deteriorate quite that suddenly!  I went to my doctor, told him about the tick bite and the rash.  He ran a Lyme’s test on me–it came back positive.  My doctor claimed it was a false positive..there is no Lyme’s disease in Colorado.  Strand 23 of the Western Blot test came back reactive.  That clinched it. My doctor–and he is a good doctor–is s imply not trained to read the test…because there is no Lyme’s disease in Colorado.

I am now three months into Lyme’s disease.  The chances of regaining energy and a pain free life dwindled with each tiny increment of time lost before I began treatment.  I could have fought it from the word go,and early diagnosis has a huge impact on outcome, but because of the misinformation I got from the CCDC, I held off and dismissed the rash.  Now what?  I don’t feel so good but hope for the best.

This weekend my daughter went fishing with her grandfather in the hills west of Carbondale. She came back in the evening and showed me a migrans rash on her inner thigh.  She is on antibiotics and we are in contact with the only Lyme Literate doctor in Colorado.  He says we both need to be on a dose twice as strong as we are on now, of the doxycycline.  So, we are now arranging for a second appointment.

While we were in to our local doctor, getting my daughter examined and medicated–he happened to make a very interesting comment after he noted that he didn’t think the rash was Lyme’s.  I asked him if he had ever seen a rash like it before–yes, he had seen several just like it in the past two days–and he felt sure that they were all spider bites.   I am very grateful to the local docs for their willingness to treat the rash with antibiotics–but I want to say to any patient who gets a perfectly round flat, slightly raised rash after being in the wilderness–you need to research Lyme’s whether you find that tick or not. We may be in the midst of a Lyme explosion. To get the rash is a sure fire sign that the Lyme’s has entered your system.  This is the one thing doctors can agree on. You are lucky if you get such a strong indicator,only 33% of Lyme’s patients do.

There is an extreme reluctance in Colorado to say Lyme’s has arrived. Insurance companies do not want to fork out for costly and difficult cures. Doctors feel helpless in the face of all the questions Lyme’s presents. But, it is here.  And, after a year where there is a bumper crop of acorns the mouse population explodes, mice carry 40% more ticks–you can imagine what that will mean to the larger mammals,such as deer. Lyme’s eventually can attack the heart and central nervous system–we are not talking about a quick fix.

 Furthermore, our dear children are in the front line.  There are two kinds of doctors out there now:  one group thinks Lyme’s is easy to get and hard to treat–the other thinks Lyme’s is hard to get and easy to treat. Find the doc that works for you. And, keep in the back of your mind this strange factoid:  in Colorado last year 527 dogs tested positive for Lyme’s. Do you know why?  Because pets are not insured and there is no effort to suppress the Lyme’s diagnosis. Only one human being made it through the red tape to be placed as a reportable case.  If only this information had made it to the CCDC website!  All I needed was one case to make it real and to begin strong antibiotics early in the game.
Mally C Strong
Mountain Medicine
PO Box 904
Carbondale, CO 81623