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Knowing the Symptoms Helps Prevent Lyme DiseaseSubmitted: 05/23/2013
Story By Melissa Constanzer

Knowing the Symptoms Helps Prevent Lyme Disease
MINOCQUA - "This disease is called the great imitator for a good reason," says Jeff Waite.

Lyme disease can be good at hiding.

"Lyme disease is a bacterial type infection spread by a spiral keet, which is also considered a parasite. And it can be carried in the spit glands and intestinal track of ticks in this area. Particularly the deer tick," said Dr. Kurt Landauer.

Lyme disease can be a debilitating disease if left untreated. Northwoods father, Jeff Waite, knows that well. His daughter, Jennifer, got Lyme disease in 2003. Test results came back negative so she went untreated for years.

"The bacteria had had its way with her body for two and a half years and ended up getting into her brain and doing damage to her nervous system," said Jeff Waite.

Jennifer still battles with the disease.

So what's the best way to avoid going through what Jennifer went through? ... Staying informed.

"Knowing what the symptoms are is a must up here in the Northwoods. Because, you know, a lot of times you'll get bit by a tick and you won't even know it," says Jeff Waite.

Ticks that carry the disease are as small as a poppy seed. Checking your body for ticks is a good idea after walking in the woods. But you don't always catch every one. Watching for symptoms is often your only sign of Lyme disease.

"Symptoms to watch for are like a bad summer flu. Headaches, fevers, muscle aches and during the ticks season, I consider that Lyme disease unless I have something else to blame it on," says Dr. Landauer.

But not every tick carries Lyme disease. Most ticks need to be drawing your blood for 24 hours before the bacteria can be transferred. However, Wisconsin is still among the top ranking states for the disease. Northern Wisconsin is no exception.

"It's definitely a problem up here. We see a lot of Lyme's and mostly it's presumed Lyme's." 7 sec, Dr. Landauer.

Often the illness is only presumed Lyme's because the disease is hard to test for. That's why doctors stress knowing the symptoms.

"Be vigilant and think Lyme disease because typically, it's not confirmed in any way. It's a disease of symptoms, suspicion, and findings," said Dr. Landauer.

And that's why Jeff Waite takes so much time to educate kids who spend lots of time outside. Because of his daughter's disease, Jeff commits his time to speaking with students.

"The kids are great, you know, they soak it up. There's not one of them that doesn't know someone who has had Lyme disease," says Jeff Waite.

But that doesn't mean we need to live in fear if we're well informed.

"The main thing is get outside, have a good time, check for ticks every day, and watch for the symptoms," says Dr. Landauer.

Those steps can help you avoid getting Lyme disease like Jeff's daughter Jennifer did.



Related Weblinks:
Center for Disease Control

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 IN OTHER NEWS

HAZELHURST - A local Northwoods business works together to make better products than it did when it first began in 1925. 

Tomahawk Live Trap has grown and even relocated to Hazelhurst since then.

Greg Smith and his wife Jenny bought Tomahawk Live Trap about seven years ago.

And the company has been growing ever since.

Sales have more than doubled since Greg and Jenny took over.  But it's not just the sales that have grown.

"When we first came in here, the culture, I'm going to say was toxic," said Greg Smith.

But it's not toxic anymore. Tomahawk Live Trap has worked with UW-Stout and its Manufacturing Outreach Center to form a better team.

"You treat people like people, you empower people so they can do their jobs and you listen to them," said Smith.

Operations Coordinator, Chris Powers was there when the Smith's took over and has noticed the big improvement with the environment.

"We work together as a team to put out the best product we can, as fast as we can," said Powers.

The program uses a "lean" philosophy which helps trim unnecessary portions of a work area.

"Only using and having what you need in an area versus a bunch of clutter and stuff in an area," said Powers.

The biggest customers for Tomahawk Live Trap are mainly animal control companies. They sell to not only American companies, but also around the world.

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EAGLE RIVER - Most of us go out on the boat for a day of fun and relaxation. But to Gary and Shele Fawcett, a trip out on the water means a chance to teach history.

"The Eagle River Chain of Lakes alone is about 350-400 miles of water," said Shele.

"We talk about Eagle River and the things that used to happen up here, but nobody knows the stuff that's going on on the lakes," said Gary.

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EAGLE RIVER - Wednesday's weather made it the perfect day for a group of people to grab their paddles and explore some Northwoods waters.

The Northwoods Land Trust invited the community on a tour of private and protected waters.

People met up to paddle down Deerskin River in Eagle River.

Executive Director of the Northwoods Land Trust Bryan Pierce said Deerskin River is special because it's a trout stream and known for its resources.

"Our intent is to try and keep it that high quality keep the water quality protected and also provide for both fish and wildlife habitat," said Pierce. 

Wednesday was also a celebration.

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MERRILL - It might look like Olivia Telschow works alone these days.  That impression isn't far from the truth.

"It definitely isn't a job for a slacker," Telschow said of her work.

Telschow is in her second year of running Helene's Hilltop Orchard south of Merrill. She's been busy pruning 14 acres of apple trees, mowing the grass, and cutting the corn maze four times in the last month alone.

"We kind of go through this mad panic about six weeks before we open and all of the sudden it's no longer counting down the weeks, it's counting down the days," Telschow said.

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EAGLE RIVER - A $14,000 donation will help bring kids from urban areas to the Northwoods.

Baden-Powell Northwoods Experience donated the money earlier this month.

The Milwaukee-based group tried to use that money to save a Laona Boy Scout camp last year, but it wasn't able to raise enough money fast enough. 

So, the group decided to donate the left over funds to Trees for Tomorrow. 

Executive Director Robin Ginner said the two groups missions line up well. 

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RHINELANDER - Kids all over Wisconsin will head back to school soon.

However, workers at a Rhinelander bus service say knowing bus safety skills could safe your child's life.

"The song Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round inspired me so much. That's why I became a bus driver," said Jake Kriesel a Rhinelander bus driver who never puts a break on fun.

But Kriesel says bus safety is no laughing matter.
"Bus drivers only have one thing in mind and that is your safety," said Kriesel.

Kriesel drives for Bowen's Bus Service, and Thursday he will be a part of a School Bus Safety Open House.

"Making sure there're safe. That's really our number one job," said Kriesel.

The open house will have three bus emergency scenarios for kids to learn how to evacuate safely.

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - A 50-year-old Lac Du Flambeau man faces felony charges for sexual assault. 

Deputies found out about the allegations against the man in May. 

To protect the victims' identities, we are not releasing his name at this time.

The assaults took place in the Town of Birch in Lincoln County in the summer or 2016 and the spring of 2017. 

The two victims were teenagers between the ages of 16 and 18. 

The suspect appeared in Lincoln County Court today where he was formally charged with three felony counts. 

The suspect posted a $5,000 cash bond and has been released from jail.

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