A CAMPAIGN in the Shoalhaven is gaining momentum in the battle to raise awareness of a disease NSW Health does not believe exists in Australia.
Lyme disease is the number one tick-borne illness in the world, a debilitating condition that causes a host of symptoms and if left untreated can be fatal.
Symptoms can include extreme fatigue and swollen glands, slurred speech and impaired movement.
It is often mistaken for motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s or multiple sclerosis.
Melanie Lattanizo from Nowra has a sister, who did not want to be named, in rural NSW who has been battling the disease since October 2011.
Mrs Lattanizio is hosting an awareness and fund-raising night at the Roxy Cinema on Tuesday, March 26 at 6.30pm.
She wants to raise awareness in support of her sister but also because Shoalhaven residents are living amongst the ticks that can carry the illness.
“This is a horrible disease and I want local people to be aware of it and of how to minimise the chances of contracting it.
“The event I’m hosting will be a movie night, with supper, lucky door prizes and hopefully a guest speaker from the Lyme Disease Association of Australia,” she said.
“Even though officially the medical system won’t admit Lyme disease is in Australia, there are an estimated 1500 people with it.
“My sister went to her GP with her symptoms and was told the disease did not exist in Australia; that it was in her head.
“She then sent her own blood sample to the US for testing, which cost her about $1500. Those results came back confirming she had chronic Lyme disease. “This is absolutely ridiculous,” she said.
“It is real, it is happening and we are going to make noise about it.
“When you get Lyme it comes
with co-infections – [my sister] has four – and they have different
“Her symptoms change but include welts on her skin, headaches, being very lethargic, arthritic pain in her joints, mild facial palsy, lots of brain fog and so she would find it hard to even look at a shopping list and go and do the shopping, diarrhoea, anxiety, depression, chest pain, slurred speech, burning in hands and feet and back pain, to name a few.”
More information about the awareness night will be featured in the Register in coming weeks.
For more information about Lyme disease visit lymedisease.org.au.