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Bay Area Lyme Foundation partners with AJGA to provide critical education about tick-borne disease

Golf is estimated to be among the highest risk sports for contracting Lyme and other tick-borne diseases<br/>
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Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a leading sponsor of Lyme disease research in the US, and the AJGA have announced a new partnership aimed at educating young golfers about Lyme disease and providing tips for preventing tick bites.

For this partnership, Bay Area Lyme Foundation will provide prevention materials, tick removal keys, Tick Tock Naturals® organic tick repellent and Sawyer® picaridin lotion to all AJGA members. In addition, Bay Area Lyme Foundation will become a Leadership Links charity partner, and two tournaments will be named for the Foundation by the end of 2023.

As former AJGA and Harvard Division 1 golfers, my brother and I wish we had been educated on the risks associated with Lyme disease and the prevalence of ticks throughout the U.S., and ways to prevent being bitten. Few golfers seem aware of the risks and even fewer take precautions, and it’s imperative for us to change this.
Nina Fairbairn (AJGA ’13, Harvard ’17), an investment partner who volunteers for Bay Area Lyme Foundation as an Advisory Board member and is spearheading this partnership for the Foundation

Golf courses are a hotbed for ticks that can carry Lyme disease. Ticks flourish in areas between woods and open spaces, which is the exact terrain of golf courses, and live on the small forest animals that often occupy golf courses. Lyme disease is the most common vector borne illness in the United States with at least 476,000 new cases each year.

"It is heartbreaking to see how many people within the golf community suffer with the long term symptoms of persistent Lyme disease and we are concerned about the risk of this disease for all of our members," said AJGA Chief Business Officer Jason Etzen. "Because of the amount of time golfers spend in areas of elevated tick activity, we have a strong responsibility to ensure our members are knowledgeable about tick-borne disease so they can prevent it, and if bitten, start their battle against disease early enough to give them a better chance of avoiding long-term consequences.”

Nearly one quarter of golfers were diagnosed with Lyme disease and yet 72% of golfers did NOT use insect repellent, according to research presented at the American Public Health Association in 2014. Another study, conducted by the University of Rhode Island, found that 50-75% of ticks found on nearby golf courses carried the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

We are deeply concerned about athletes, particularly children, involved in sports such as golf that put them at high risk for Lyme disease and have not been fully educated about ways to prevent tick bites. This partnership with AJGA underscores our commitment to providing education for these and other high-risk athletes.
Linda Giampa, Executive Director, Bay Area Lyme Foundation.

The symptoms of early-stage Lyme disease include headaches, flu-like symptoms, joint pain, fatigue and sometimes a rash that has many different shapes including one which may look like a bullseye centered on the tick bite. Knowing the symptoms of Lyme disease is critical as the current "gold standard" diagnostic for Lyme disease misses up to 60% of cases of early-stage Lyme disease. As a result of the difficulty in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease, more than two million people suffer from its debilitating later stage symptoms.

Ticks may carry bacteria as well as viruses and parasites, which can cause a range of diseases including anaplasmosis, babesiosis, Borrelia miyamotoi, Lyme disease, Powassan disease, rickettsiosis and Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF).

About Lyme Disease
The most common vector-borne infectious disease in the country, Lyme disease is a potentially disabling infection caused by bacteria transmitted through the bite of an infected tick to people and pets. If caught early, most cases of Lyme disease can be effectively treated, but it is commonly misdiagnosed due to lack of awareness and unreliable diagnostic tests. There are nearly 500,000 new cases of Lyme disease each year, according to statistics released in 2018 by the CDC. As a result of the difficulty in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease, more than two million Americans may be suffering from the impact of its debilitating long-term symptoms and complications, according to Bay Area Lyme Foundation estimates.

About Bay Area Lyme Foundation
Bay Area Lyme Foundation, a national organization committed to making Lyme disease easy to diagnose and simple to cure, is the leading public not-for-profit sponsor of innovative Lyme disease research in the US. A 501c3 non-profit organization based in Silicon Valley, Bay Area Lyme Foundation collaborates with world-class scientists and institutions to accelerate medical breakthroughs for Lyme disease. It is also dedicated to providing reliable, fact-based information so that prevention and the importance of early treatment are common knowledge. A pivotal donation from The LaureL STEM Fund covers overhead costs and allows for 100% of all donor contributions to Bay Area Lyme Foundation to go directly to research and prevention programs. For more information about Lyme disease or to get involved, visit www.bayarealyme.org or call us at 650-530-2439.