TODAY   |  October 17, 2013

Lyme disease victim: ‘It looked like I had a stroke’

Editor-in-chief of Bonnie Fuller and Lyme disease expert Dr. John Halperin discuss the alarming prevalence of the tick-borne illness, which the CDC estimates affects 300,000 Americans each year. Fuller herself has been diagnosed with Lyme disease, and she speaks openly about her personal battle.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> according to the cdc, shall 300,000 americans are diagnosed with lyme disease each year making it ten times more common than we always originally thought.

>> one of our good friends was recently diagnosed, bonnie fuller .

>> and we have lyme disease expert, dr. john halperin. welcome both.

>> thank you.

>> one day you were supposed to be on with us and they said something was wrong. and doctors couldn't even figure out originally what was wrong.

>> that's right. it took about i would say three days for the doctors to come up with a diagnosis. and i was in the hospital. what happened is it didn't show up in my blood. there were no an i botibodieantibodies.

>> what were the symptoms?

>> i had what it turned out to be the whole right side of my face was drooping. it looked liningke i had a stroke. and i had double vision .

>> in both eyes?

>> i couldn't figure it out, about you we finally discovered it was in the right eye. i also felt like i had an iron corset wrapping around me and i couldn't breathe, i was numb, ii ied had back pain, neck pain .

>> and what you're supposed to do is tons and tons of antibiotics?

>> not so much tons. there is an appropriate amount. if you get the right one in a timely fashion, the disease a 95% curable.

>> how long it to you take those?

>> 2 to 4 weeks about.

>> it doesn't always show up in a blood test the first time.>> 2 to 4 week s about.

>> it doesn't always show up in a blood test the first time.

>> depends on the circumstances. we measure your body's reaction to the infection and that takes 30 to 45 days to develop. so if someone comes in with with a rash which usually develops in the first couple of week, about half of those people have a negative blood test .

>> we should point out this is from a tiny tick bite .

>> when you see it, it looks huge here, but how big, bonnie?

>> i never saw the tick. and i never had the rash. but i did have a flu-like illness about six weeks before all the major symptoms developed.

>> had you been in nantucket or places like that that are known --

>> i live in westchester and we're overrun with deer. but what i've learned is that nice carry the lylyme even more.

>> lonnie didn't have the rash.

>> if you look at children who moms who look at them at the end of the day in the bath, about 90% of children will develop the race. about 50% of adults report the rash. you may get the rash where the sun don't shine so you don't notice it. about 50% of the people bitten are males and we never notice anything. so --

>> right. i knew we'd get a laugh out of you somewhere.

>> bonnie, we're so glad you're back. thanks for being with us.

>> thank you, doctor.