GUILDERLAND, N.Y. – An internationally recognized Lyme disease expert answered questions and was a featured guest Wednesday during an Empire State Lyme Disease Association meeting held at the Guilderland Library.
"I just don't understand with all the literature and knowledge that's out there that we still can be in denial. It's here and it's bad," said Glenville resident Laurie Sweeney.
Sweeney says she's seen firsthand the devastation tick borne illnesses have caused and the challenges Lyme disease patients like herself face. She is just one out of the 100 people that showed up to the meeting for an informational session on the issue.
The majority of those in the room raised their hand when asked if they had Lyme disease or knew someone who did.
The main concern addressed to Dr. Steven Bock during the meeting was the lack of doctors that recognize the disease or know how to treat it.
Dr. Bock who treats patients with tick borne illnesses says some of his colleagues are restricted by medical guidelines.
"Most doctors don't have experience in Lyme disease. They either will send you to an infectious disease or blow it off," said Sweeney. "The veterinary world is so much more advanced in realizing Lyme. Our animals, our dogs are better off than we are as humans with getting diagnosed and treated for Lyme."
According to The Empire State Lyme Disease Association, New York State has one of the highest rates of the disease, counting those that could go undiagnosed and those diagnosed there's more than 750,000 cases from 1990 to 2006.
Dr. Bock says he's been studying the disease for more than 25 years.
"The tests are not good. It's a clinical diagnosis. If you go by the lab tests you're going to miss so many cases and second some doctors have trouble diagnosing it and even if they diagnose it they're behind on the treatment," he said.