SARASOTA – It acts like the flu, but left untreated it can linger on and cause problems with your heart and your brain.


According to the CDC 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme Disease, the tick-borne illness, each year. 56% of patients test negative.


Dr. Michael Dunn is an M.D. with the Comprehensive Care Center in Sarasota. He says the diagnosis is not clear–cut. “Typically the symptoms that are there are kind of vague, and unless you’re particularly looking for that, it’s not something you’re going to think of,” says Dunn.


Acute Lyme Disease acts like the flu. “Fever, fatigue, body aches, rash,” says Dunn. But it’s chronic Lyme’s you need to worry about.


Fatigue, joint pain, poor sleep. It can even lead to neurological and cardiovascular conditions. The treatment can be complicated. “The drug of choice is usually doxycycline,” says Dunn. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work.


Dunn says you can have symptoms 6 months to a year after treatment. “There’s a condition called Post–Lyme Syndrome,” he says. It represents auto-immunity.


Some research suggests using a port for daily IV injections, but not all doctors agree.


“Lyme’s disease is something that’s very slow for your body to get over,” says Dunn. One thing’s for sure, the earlier the treatment the better.


Lyme’s is typically transferred through a tick bite. The CDC says only 45% of patients develop a rash, and many people don’t notice the tick or the rash.