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Empire State Lyme Disease Association Comes to NYS Fair

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Empire State Lyme Disease Association Comes to NYS Fair
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New York is one of 13 states that's home to 95 percent of all lyme disease cases reported in 2012, according to the CDC. Reporter Sarah Blazonis stopped by the Empire State Lyme Disease Association's booth and explains why the group is making its first trip to the fair.

NEW YORK STATE FAIR -- The stories start as soon as the booth opens and Eva Haughie knows they'll keeping on coming.

"Twelve hours a day, most of the days. We don't get much of a chance to rest," said Eva Haughie, Empire State Lyme Disease Association president..

Haughie said the Empire State Lyme Disease Association decided to set up at the fair because of local demand.

"I come from Long Island, and we've had a great need there for a long time, and I've been thinking that the need is just as bad here, if not worse," said Haughie.

"Locally, we can see that our numbers are actually growing with Lyme disease. We do have a local support group. We find that each month, we have new members," said Kathleen Wallace, the CNY Empire State Lyme Disease Association vice president.

About 100 people a day stop by, some to learn more about the tick-borne illness, others to share their experiences with it.

The CDC said 30,000 cases are reported every year in the U.S., but many more may go unidentified. That's one of the challenges for groups like this.

"One of the worst things about this is that symptoms vary, and you can have one out of a list of 40-something odd symptoms or you can have a lot of the symptoms," said Haughie.

The disease can be treated if caught in its early stages, but symptoms can go unnoticed until it's too late or be misdiagnosed. That's why prevention, including using repellent, is key.

"Tick checks, wearing light clothing does not keep the ticks away, but you will see them a little easier," said Haughie.

Haughie also said it's important for doctors to listen to their patients who may be experiencing symptoms, and keep in mind the area's risk factors.

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