NEW GLASGOW — Members of the Rotary Club of New Glasgow listened intently as Brenda Sterling-Goodwin spoke about Lyme disease from which she and others she knows are suffering.
She addressed a lunchtime meeting the club conducts each Tuesday at Summer Street Industries.
She shared her experiences with finally being diagnosed with Lyme disease years after developing symptoms associated with the bacterial infections spread by insects that include blacklegged ticks and, according to recent research, other biting insects.
There is no cure for chronic Lyme cases like hers, she said, only remission.
“Lyme disease is known as the Great Imitator,” she said as she shared conditions it mimics number about 350 maladies that include early Alzheimer’s disease, MS, Bell’s palsy, autism, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, severe headaches, sleep disorders and thyroid disease.
“Doctors need educating,” she said, while criticizing the current protocol of two pills of antibiotics when she said six to eight weeks are the least a person should receive to prevent a relapse (according to ILADS International Lyme and Associated Disease Society).
Club members were surprised to hear how prevalent Lyme disease is among Pictou County residents, that other ticks besides the blacklegged variety carry the bacteria associated with Lyme and ticks can crawl on people during outdoor activities.
The blacklegged tick can be found in tall grass, leaf litter and other plant life as people walk in wooded areas or in their own yards during spring, summer and fall. Ticks are deposited in the environment as they hitchhike on birds and other mammals.
Members also considered what they could do to help raise Lyme awareness.
Lyme disease is named after a community named Lyme in Connecticut. Goodwin noted the condition called ALS that is named after baseball player Lou Gehrig, who had a residence in Lyme, Connecticut.
Rachael Walsh listens as Brenda Sterling-Goodwin addresses members of the Rotary Club of New Glasgow on the subject of Lyme disease. (Goodwin photo)