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Lyme Disease Outbreak Strikes Indiana Lakefront Town

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(Credit: AP)

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OGDEN DUNES, Ind. (CBS) — The Indiana State Department of Health is warning residents of the Ogden Dunes community along Lake Michigan to take precautions in avoiding a surge in Lyme disease.

As WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe reports, Health administrators say Ogden Dunes and nearby Beverly Shores have a high concentration of ticks infected with Lyme disease.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s David Roe reports

Ogden Dunes residents attended a town hall presentation on the illness Thursday.

As the department explains, Lyme disease can affect the skin and sometimes the nervous system, joints or heart. Arthritis and meningitis are among the potential complications if the disease is not treated promptly.

It is caused by a spiral-shaped bacterium known scientifically as Borrelia burgdoferi.

Both humans and other animals can be infected by the disease, but in some people, it can remain asymptomatic.

State Department of Health epidemiologist Jennifer House says residents can avoid joining the recent uptick in Lyme disease cases by avoiding overgrown grass, thick brush and leaf litters and using insect repellent.

About half of the three dozen people at the meeting say they have the disease.

They say residents can avoid becoming infected by avoiding overgrown grass, thick brush, leaf litters and by using insect repellent. Lyme disease, if not properly treated, can lead to arthritis, meningitis and other illnesses.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)