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Could Pregnant Women Transmit Lyme Disease To Their Kids?

10:23 PM, Jul 1, 2011   |    comments
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ASHBURN, Va. (WUSA) -- Just as you're gearing up for a weekend of picnics and barbeques, brace yourself because there's an alarming new report out about Lyme Disease in Virginia. One of the most shocking findings is that pregnant women may be able to transmit the disease to their unborn children.

"My wife and I have seven kids with Lyme disease," says Michael Farris.

Seven of his ten children have Lyme Disease, and he believes it's because his wife has the disease who transmitted it while pregnant.

"It's our best evidence that they got it in the uterus," said Farris.

That evidence is now part of a report just released by the Virginia Governor's Task Force on Lyme Disease, and Farris is the chairman.

"This is really changing the playing field," said Farris. "This is probably the most cutting edge report that's been done in the entire country on Lyme Disease."

Another alarming assertion is that, according to the report, there is no serological test - or blood test - that can rule out Lyme Disease.

"There are probably more than a thousand people in Northern Virginia who have been told by doctors, you can rule out Lyme disease because of a particular test. Those people need to go back to the doctor," said Farris.

It took going back to doctor for Carmen Velasco to get the correct diagnosis that she'd been waiting fifteen-years for.

"I have nerve pain. I have muscle pain. I have joint pain. My cognitive function has diminished considerably," said Velasco.

Velasco now has what's called chronic Lyme Disease. There's no known cure. But if she had gone to the doctor and taken antibiotics as soon as she developed the tell-tale, bull's-eye rash, she'd be fine. For that reason, both Farris and Velasco agree that the key to beating Lyme Disease is public awareness and prevention.

"I remember being a kid in the 1950s when there was a big public concern about polio and everyone was paying attention to it," said Farris. "We've got to have that same attention about Lyme Disease."

The report is especially troubling if you live in Loudon County. The county is home to just 4% of Virginia's population, and yet it has nearly 20% of the state's cases of Lyme Disease.


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