The powerful and highly emotive documentary ‘Living with Lyme Disease’ presented by Kerry native Brian Hurley and co-produced by James and David Pembroke from Farranfore will be broadcast on RTÉ ONE Television on Wednesday, October 18th at 10.35pm.
The programme examines how a tiny tick bite can dramatically change people’s health and wellbeing. In conversation with a number of people in Kerry and beyond suffering with Lyme disease, the programme makers document the struggles around getting the correct initial diagnosis and then the appropriate treatment for a disease.
Discovered in Mid 1970s
The disease was discovered in the mid-seventies in America in a town called Lyme in Connecticut. Concerns were raised when a lot of children and adults were becoming very ill with symptoms such as severe rash, joint pain and chronic fatigue. It was in 1981 that a scientist named Willy Burgdorfer discovered that Lyme was caused by bacteria in mice and deer and transmitted to humans by a bite from a deer tick.
Although Lyme disease has been around for decades it is only in recent years that it has come to the fore with a number of high profile celebrities going public about the illness. Most recently actor Alec Baldwin has talked about the debilitating effects of Lyme, musician Kris Kristofferson’s memory loss was not due to Alzheimer’s but Lyme and singer Avril Lavigne admitting that she thought she was dying as a result of the bacterial infection. Other high profile sufferers include Kelly Osborne, Ally Hilfiger (daughter of designer Tommy Hilfiger) and star of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Yolanda Hadid.
Fastest Growing infectious Disease
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) tells us that Lyme disease is the fastest growing vector-borne infectious disease in the world and here in Ireland the numbers of reported cases have increased in recent years.
In the programme ‘Living with Lyme Disease’ the patients interviewed discuss their frustration with being diagnosed in Ireland and how the diagnostic tests in the Country are outdated and inadequate. Many patients find themselves traveling abroad for tests and treatment which is costly, frustrating and disruptive to their everyday lives.
Create More Awareness
A number of politicians in Ireland have raised the issue of Lyme disease at a local and national level citing the need for a more reliable diagnostic test for sufferers and the need to create more awareness amongst the medical profession and the general public.
The show will air on RTE ONE on Wednesday October 18th at 10.35pm and will go a long way to increase awareness about Lyme disease.
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