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Lyme in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -Pre-teen sisters from Springdale are suffering from Lyme disease - the first cases recognized by the Arkansas Department of Health in a decade.

The Lyme disease community in Arkansas feels vindicated.

They have been saying for years that not only does Lyme disease exist in Arkansas, it is devastating lives.

"I could not move my bones,” says Torey Harrison of Little Rock. “My joints ached. My head was pounding. I felt dizzy."

Harrison is a sophomore at Ouachita Baptist University. She got Lyme disease while in high school.

"For me, I had to miss 11 weeks of school to go all across the U.S. to get tested to become positive,” says Harrison. “And now that we have the testing here more readily available, it will give them a different future than what I had to go through."

"We know that it's here,” says Lori Lynn Sikes with the Arkansas Lyme Foundation. “And these two cases confirm it. And we hope that it will open up the door for more awareness, which will in turn lead to doctors accepting the fact that Lyme disease is worth testing for."

"Shortly after I visited with y'all last time I started my first round on my pick line,” recalls Christy Davis of Poyen. “And it was really rough."

In November of 2015, we visited with Davis who was having to go to Washington D.C. to get treated for her Lyme disease.

She has since found a doctor in Louisiana.

She hopes one day soon Arkansas doctors will consider testing and treating for Lyme.

"A friend of mine, they caught his right away,” says Davis. “And he didn't go through anything like I've been through or my friends have been through. So I do think that's a big problem is I went so long and I wasn't diagnosed."

A tick found in Saline County was recently sent to a California lab for testing. The result? It was positive for Lyme disease. UAMS is about to begin more such testing.

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