Speaker Dr. Elizabeth Maloney, a family physician and tick-borne diseases expert, will discuss various illnesses, symptoms and prevention

CANANDAIGUA — Lyme and other tick-borne diseases once raised havoc in places far away from the Finger Lakes region. Now the illnesses are a big problem locally, with a growing number of people infected and a lot of questions and conflicting information.

On April 5, UR Medicine Thompson Health will present a program to provide answers and the latest information.

The featured speaker will be Dr. Elizabeth Maloney, a Minnesota family physician and president of the Partnership for Tick-borne Diseases Education. She will discuss the various illnesses, their symptoms and prevention.

Partnership for Tick-borne Diseases Education is a nonprofit that educates about tick-borne diseases based on scientific research. The organization continues to update its information because “the scientific understanding of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases continues to evolve,” states the partnership founded in 2015. 

Maloney’s specific interest in tick-borne diseases dates back more than a decade when she began delving into scientific literature about the illnesses. Initially, she wanted to understand why some of her patients did not present symptoms or respond as described in review articles and conference lectures. Maloney “discovered that Borrelia burgdorferi, the agent of Lyme disease, is a complex organism and the immune response to it is nuanced and there are gaps in the clinical understanding of the disease,” according to Partnership for Tick-Borne Diseases Education. That discovery led Maloney to her current mission of educating medical professionals and the community about Lyme and the many other tick-borne illnesses.

Because so many people in the Canandaigua area have been affected by these diseases, a support group recently launched with its first meeting held this month. The Ontario County Lyme Support Group meets the third Wednesday of every month, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Canandaigua Fire Hall, 335 S. Main St., with updates on its Facebook page and through the email contact, OntCtyLyme@gmail.com.

Support group member John Messina of Canandaigua is among those urging people to attend the April 5 program, “What Everyone Should Know About Lyme Disease,” and attend the support group, as well, if they are affected by a tick-borne illness. “I am reaching out to everybody, just to get the word out,” Messina said.

Reservations are required by April 1 for the April 5 program. You can reserve online at bit.ly/2FHGztG or call 585-396-6375.

 

If you go

WHAT: “What Everyone Should Know About Lyme Disease” informational program

WHEN: Thursday, April 5, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: The Inn on the Lake, 770 S. Main St., Canandaigua

DETAILS: Reservations are required by April 1. Call 585-396-6375 or visit bit.ly/2FHGztG for information.