SILICON VALLEY, Calif., May 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading non-profit funder and advocate of innovative Lyme disease research in the US, today announced that Elet Hall, ambassador for the Bay Area Lyme Foundation, and Jo Ellis, director, education outreach, Bay Area Lyme Foundation, helped raise awareness about Lyme disease and tick-borne illnesses among California Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (AEOE) conference attendees. Attendees included individuals who work in museums, zoos, nature centers, and state and national parks as well as environmental and outdoor educators who help instill an understanding of nature to individuals of all ages, from California and neighboring states.
Hall, who struggled with the symptoms of undiagnosed Lyme disease, is a competitive free runner, Parkour instructor and four-time competitor on the popular TV show American Ninja Warrior. He has been called "The Natural," because he is a natural on the course, and also because his primary training ground is the outdoors. Twice, he was able to successfully make it to the finals of American Ninja Warrior.
"I love the outdoors and want children and adults to not only enjoy nature but also be aware of ticks and know the symptoms of Lyme disease," said Elet Hall, ambassador, Bay Area Lyme Foundation. "Like many others who are ultimately diagnosed with Lyme, I never had a rash, so knowing the symptoms is key to prompt diagnosis and proper treatment."
There is a great misconception that Lyme is easy to diagnose due to the bull's-eye rash. However, the rash (Erythema migrans) only occurs in approximately 70-80% of infected persons and only a subset of erythema migrans rashes resemble a bull's-eyei. In fact, the current "gold standard" diagnostic for Lyme disease misses up to 60% of cases of early stage Lyme diseaseii. Therefore, knowing the general symptoms of the first stage of Lyme disease (and other tick-borne pathogens) is critical in reducing the burden of disease in people. Typical symptoms include headaches, flu-like illness, joint pain, fatigue, and sometimes a rash that has a few different shapes including one which may look like a bull's-eye centered on the tick bite.
"There is currently a great deal of misinformation about ticks and Lyme disease available," said Amanda Martin, Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education. "By collaborating with Bay Area Lyme Foundation, we intend to arm our environmental and outdoor educators with accurate and up-to-date information about ticks and Lyme disease so they can prevent and seek early diagnosis for this potentially devastating disease."
The AEOE is the first association of environmental educators in the nation, and has been created for and by the outdoor and environmental educators of California. Serving as the state affiliate for the North American Association of Environmental Educators (NAAEE), the volunteer run organization is charged with providing a diverse group of trained educators that are both knowledgeable and skilled at educating today's youth, and the public, about the natural world. The AEOE conference took place at Camp Hess Kramer in Malibu, CA from April 29 - May 1, 2016.
One of the fastest growing vector-borne infectious diseases in the United States, Lyme disease is a potentially debilitating infection caused by bacteria transmitted through the bite of an infected tick to people and pets. If caught early, most cases of Lyme disease can be effectively treated, but it is commonly misdiagnosed due to lack of awareness and unreliable diagnostic tests. There are approximately 329,000 new cases of Lyme disease each year, according to statistics released in 2015 by the CDC. As a result of the difficulty in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease, as many as one million Americans may be suffering from the impact of its debilitating long-term symptoms and complications, according to Bay Area Lyme Foundation estimates.
About Bay Area Lyme Foundation
Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a national organization committed to making Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure, is the leading public not-for-profit sponsor of innovative Lyme disease research in the US. A 501c3 non-profit organization based in Silicon Valley, Bay Area Lyme collaborates with world-class scientists and institutions to accelerate medical breakthroughs for Lyme disease. It is also dedicated to providing reliable, fact-based information so that prevention and the importance of early treatment are common knowledge. A pivotal donation from The Laurel Foundation covers all overhead costs and allows for 100% of all donor contributions to Bay Area Lyme Foundation to go directly to research and prevention programs. For more information about Lyme disease or to get involved, visit www.bayarealyme.org or call us at 650-530-2439.
i Correspondence. The Presenting Manifestations of Lyme Disease and the Outcomes of Treatment. N Engl J Med 2003; 348:2472-2474, June 12, 2003
ii Rosenfeld , Wang, Schwartz, Wormser, 2005
SOURCE Bay Area Lyme Foundation