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deer ticks
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An_222054 posted:
my two year old son had a deer tick on him for aleast 24 hours. we got it off and cleaned the site but I was wondering if i needed to take him to the doctor for antibiotics or anything. I am worried that he might get lyme disease.
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Roy Benaroch, MD responded:
It depends on the local prevalence. In my area of the country (Georgia), there is essentially zero Lyme Disease, so antibiotics are not needed in this situation. My understanding is that in communities with high Lyme rates, antibiotics may be a good idea. I suggest you contact your own local physician who will know about the best way to handle this in your area.
 
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HappyMomInGeorgia replied to Roy Benaroch, MD's response:
Dr. Benaroch,

If you have some free time this week, I'd like to encourage you to read about Lyme disease in Georgia. According to the CDC's website, in 2011 there were 32 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in Georgia. Also according to the CDC's website, the number of ACTUAL cases is grossly underreported. So I'm concerned that your statement of "there is essentially zero Lyme disease in Georgia" is misleading. Lyme DOES exist in Georgia. (In fact, more Lyme disease strains and species have been identified here in the South than in the North. And in 1989, Georgia reported the 4th highest number of Lyme disease cases: a whopping 715 cases! The CDC verified these cases and attributed the spread of the disease to the dense population of white-tailed deer in GA.)

I understand that for this patient in particular (the two-year-old boy with a tick bite), antibiotics would not be prescribed as a prophylactic measure; however, a blood test (to check for Lyme) might be warranted.

I have Lyme disease, and both of my children have Lyme disease. We live IN GEORGIA. When I asked my children's pediatrician to order the tests for Lyme disease, she refused (because she also erroneously believes that Lyme cannot be acquired in Georgia). However, another local doctor did order the tests, and they came back positive. Our pediatrician declared the results were false positives (she said that my children could not possibly have Lyme disease), so I continued to pursue additional testing. To make a long story short, we ended up with two culture-confirmed cases of Lyme; the pediatrician referred us to a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the children's hospital (who also happened to be surprised by the test results because "Lyme doesn't exist in Georgia").

Dr. Benaroch, I honestly value the opinions and expertise of the medical community; I am, by no means, an anti-establishment type of person. However, I do feel like there's a considerable lack of knowledge about Lyme disease, especially among southern doctors. Lyme disease DOES exist in Georgia. So I'm simply and humbly asking local doctors to please research this disease further. You might be surprised by what you find in peer-reviewed journals. Lyme disease is a growing epidemic; it can cause serious neurological and cardiac problems if left untreated; it should NOT be so readily dismissed by doctors such as yourself who declare the disease to be virtually non-existent in our state. If you're interested in examining the data regarding this disease, please visit georgialymedisease.org.

Thank you so much for caring for the medical needs of our community! We should all be grateful for any doctor who attempts to offer the best care/knowledge available.


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