“Pennsylvania has more cases of Lyme disease than any other state in the country, and has for many years. And, the southeast part of state has the highest rate in the whole state,” says Doug Fearn, Chairman of the Lyme Disease Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease in the US every year. There remain many undiagnosed cases due to difficulties in diagnosis and the lack of public information.
In the last year, changes have begun in the official protocol for Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment, but patients remain their own best advocates for effective treatment. One of the greatest services libraries provide to Lyme disease patients is to be an unbiased clearinghouse of information on health care providers, diagnosis, and treatment, in a time when options are broadening but not always easy to find. It is essential to see a health care professional for treatment. Libraries provide information, not health advice or care.
The Abington Community Library has a variety of resources on Lyme Disease, and the library staff is ready to assist you in Internet searches for the latest releases from www.lymedisease.org and other local, state, and national Lyme Disease organizations, support groups, and experts. A PA Lyme Disease patient says, “Articles and journals, and the web were my best sources of current information as I sought options for diagnosis and treatment.” For the numerous people offline at home, libraries (of all kinds) are the main portals for such sources.
Supported by the Lyme Disease Foundation, Lyme Disease Awareness Month is a campaign which promotes preventative measures which can be taken against Lyme disease. Many regions and municipalities organize events and raise funds for research, and people wear green ribbons or replace their porch lights with green bulbs.