Lyme Disease Misery Rises Rapidly as Infected Ticks Spread in Minnesota

Abigail Smith, Staff Reporter

In Monticello, Minnesota Joan Schuster, and her two children take dozens of pills as their daily routine.  The expense, the hassle, and pain are all because of ticks.

According to a KARE-TV report, Joan, 54 doesn’t really have an appetite. Joan stated “she and her two children, Alyssa who is 14 and Jack that is 13 were all diagnosed with lyme disease in 2015. Joan’s husband Dave was the only one in the family not to get diagnosed with lyme.

Joan stated, “It’s one of the cruelest diseases out there. It has no mercy on you.”

Lyme disease is an affection that spreads through your body from a bite of a blacklegged tick. An estimated 329,000 people are diagnosed with lyme disease each year.  Typical symptoms include, fever, headache, fatigue, and a bullseye rash where the tick bite is placed. As a disease that attacks the immune system, it can come with many co-infections.

The Minnesota Department of Health has documented an increase trend in lyme disease as the blacklegged tick expand it’s territory moving more North and West in areas that were formerly considered to be a lower risk with no prior detectable populations of ticks before.

The agency stated “the number of lyme cases has jumped 142 percent in the past two decades in Minnesota.” Ticks that carry a bacterium called Borrelia burgdarferi were previously thought to be the only species believed to cause lyme disease in North America, but researchers at the Mayo Clinic have possibly found a 2nd one.

Schuster said how exactly her family got the disease is still unknown.  They do live near the deep woods and have been used to pulling ticks off themselves for years

But the Schuster family isn’t whining, they are doing something.  For them this means participating in an event that helps raise awareness for the disease.  A local gala and walk have raised more than $130,000 for research.

Joan’s son Jack is improving greatly but while Joan and her daughter Alyssa are having setbacks. Her daughter has to fight harder because she also has autism which exacerbates some of the symptoms. Joan waited years to get treatment after having her symptoms.

The family hopes their story and the information that is provided by media sources will help people get checked before they have to live a life like they do.