If you have ever encountered Lyme disease or worry about that possibility, please plan to be at the Hillsboro Public Library, 819 High Avenue, Mar. 22 at 6:30.
Residents from Vernon, Juneau, Monroe, Sauk, and Richland counties are invited to become part of a new support group that will discuss information about both symptoms and treatment for the disease that, unfortunately, has become quiet prevalent in the state of Wisconsin.
The informal gathering in the library meeting room is the result of organizing by rural Hillsboro farm resident Gary Cepek, who has had personal experiences with the disease.
Cepek, 61, is a graduate of Hillsboro High School, who farmed with his family until attending college and eventually a seminary, before serving as a Lutheran pastor in Milwaukee and Nebraska.
He believes he may have been first infected by a tick bite in 2006 while visiting his family farm.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium that can be transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. If left untreated, infections can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.
Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans.
It can be diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings, the possibility of personal exposure to infected ticks, and results of laboratory testing if used correctly and performed with validated methods.
Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics.
Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using insect repellent, discovering and removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat.
It should also be noted ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tick-borne diseases as well.
You can obtain much more knowledge about this rather mysterious illness by coming to the Lyme disease Support Group at 6:30 Friday evening in the Hillsboro Public Library.
Cepek is hoping that the support group evening will attract enough attention to continue meetings on the last Friday night of every month.
He will be delighted to supply more information to those interested in attending the meeting through a phone call to him at 608-489-2725 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org