Despite data, Lyme disease sufferers say infection has arrived in Utah

Published: Saturday, Feb. 11 2012 5:00 p.m. MST

Since then, Ossola has been treated with multiple medications. His mother has settled on a treatment of supplements and is doing her best to educate the public on Lyme disease and the possibility of contracting it in Utah.

"If my son got bit at Camp Tracy, less than 50 miles from my home, I wonder how many other children are getting bit and are not getting treated," Susan Ossola said.

Regardless of where someone gets bit, Baker said prevention is the best cure. She said the summer months are when most bites occur.

Anyone expecting to be in the woods should wear light-colored clothing in order to see ticks better, tuck long pants into socks while outdoors, and use insect repellent that repels the invasive insect. Swaminathan even suggests dousing clothing with repellent containing permethrin.

"It's very effective," he said. "If a tick lands on something that's been sprayed with permethrin, it'll jump right off."

If a tick is suspected, Baker said to remove it with tweezers immediately — carefully and without smashing it. If flu-like symptoms should appear, it is a good idea to see a doctor, she said.

"It's a little scary but knowledge is important," Ossola said. "A lot of people are burned at a stove, but still cook and eat. Knowledge is a No. 1 key in preventing Lyme disease."

Ossola is president of the local Lyme disease alliance, which meets throughout the year to dispel myths and share information on the disease. More information about when it meets can be found online, at www.LymeUtah.com.

"It's like the big, 'Lyme'-green elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about," Bezzant said. "But I want to talk about it. There are treatments. There are amazing things that can be done to regain your quality of life."

E-mail: wleonard@desnews.com, Twitter: wendyleonards

Try out the new DeseretNews.com design!
try beta learn more
Get The Deseret News Everywhere