Local Woman Contracts Lyme Disease

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The other night, Christine McCullough’s dogs went out, came back in and curled up in her lap.

A short time later, her arm became itchy.

“I thought, ‘What’s that?’

“And I pulled my sleeve up and there was this tick on my arm,” she said.

“The body was just starting to fill up with blood and it was really big and it was at that point, like, elongated and flat and black and I knew right then.

“I tried pulling it off and it wouldn’t come. It just seemed to dig in deeper when I tried to pull it off.”

With some effort, her husband pried the tick off.

The next morning, she had a bull’s eye rash. She immediately went to the emergency room.

“They looked at it, spotted it and said immediately, “Doxycycline, you have Lyme’s disease,’ Christine said about the doctor at the ER. “She didn’t need to see the tick, she didn’t need to do any testing, because the bull’s eye was the sure sign.”

Lyme disease is caused by bacteria carried by the deer tick. You can pick up the tick with outdoor activities, walking in high grass, or a pet could bring it in.

“If you ask veterinarians, they’ll tell you they see a lot of tick, a lot of Lyme disease in dogs,” says Dr. Ruth Perez, Christine’s doctor at the emergency department at Heritage Valley Beaver. “So, I don’t know if there’s more ticks, more Lyme disease in this area than we think, or whether we’ve just had people spot it a little earlier.”

If untreated, Lyme disease can affect the brain, heart and joints.

Christine is lucky the tick was found right away.

“If you’re able to take a tick off within 24 hours, we know that the risk of Lyme disease is very, very low,” Dr. Perez said.

The McCulloughs are extra careful now, checking themselves and checking the dogs after going outside.

More Health News
CDC: Lyme Disease

More from Dr. Maria Simbra

One Comment

  1. Sher Eiler says:

    I too have had tick bites with the bullseye and had to take “Doxycycline. I was told tick bites and lyme disease is unheard of in this area and no doctors in this area would even test for it. I even wear bug suits to stop insect bites and this year alone have removed at least 100+ deer ticks from clothing in just a matter of hours and use my ‘tick twister’ tool to remove those that do burry in skin. Anyone that does not believe these ticks are a problem should spend a day in the woods at Bradys Run Park or in Ohioville State Gamelands or behind my house and you will see ticks are a problem and these are the lyme ticks. Washing clothes you wore in hot water with Borax laundry soap will help rid them from your clothing but not kill them all. You need to toss clothes into a HOT Dryer for at least 1 hr. This does kill them on your clothing and will stop you from getting bit next time you put your clothes back on. Even after the usual laundry. Please realize doctors think tick bites are not a problem in this area and as in my case, will not report it to the health board. Most know nothing about this disease and it can cause heart problems, nerve damage, even place you in a wheel chair.

  2. tessa says:

    Sher absolutely all true. If the government won’t admit at least the ones affected by it can spread the words, because not everyone sees the tick and unfortunately it becomes chronic quite shortly without treatment and then the battle for your life begins.

Comments are closed.

More From CBS Pittsburgh

Play It
Get The All New CBS Local App

Watch & Listen LIVE