Experts say Lyme Disease expected to be worse than usual this season
SAN ANTONIO - This season could see one of the worst outbreaks of Lyme Disease.
It’s a tick-borne illness some local doctors say could be worse than usual this season.
“I didn't know why. Am I old now? Am I getting old now?" says Jimmy Walker, professional golfer.
At this year’s Valero Texas Open, Walker opened up to media about his fight against Lyme Disease.
“Not a fun way live. It's not fun. It puts you in a bad mood, you just don't feel good, you just feel awful, like a lot and it is just not fun,” says Walker.
Dr. George Crawford, with UT Health San Antonio, says there once was a vaccine for Lyme Disease, but it’s been off the market.
Crawford says the disease carrying tick is more prevalent on the East Coast.
“Particularly, if they are in the Northeastern United States they should practice good habits to avoid tick bites," says Crawford.
The local doctors says it's not as common in Texas, since the Lone Star tick doesn't carry Lyme Disease, however it's still important to be careful when traveling.
“So initially, what most people see is a rash that can be in one spot of the body or several spots of the body. Fortunately, ticks have to be attached to you for about 24 hours to successfully transmit Lyme disease,” says Crawford.
According to the Lyme Disease Association, in 2015, there were 54 cases of Lyme disease across Texas. In 2014 a decrease to 40, while the highest outbreak was in 2009.
Metro Health officials say there were zero cases of Lyme Disease in Bexar County in 2014 and 2015.
“The natural enemy of ticks is fire ants and we've got plenty of those back here,” adds Crawford.
Doctors advise, to check for ticks daily when traveling, keep a repellent handy, and tuck in clothing when outdoors.
“It could affect your heart, it could cause facial paralysis. It could cause arthritis and aseptic meningitis,” adds Crawford.
For those currently fighting the disease like Walker, he say it’s a tough battle but he's staying positive.
“I'm ready to get back to having full energy and feeling good and being able to play with my kids the way they want to play and not go home and just feel like a rock,” adds Walker.
For more information on Lyme Disease head to the CDC.