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Bite Back for a Cure aids Lyme research

weston-biteback-tick-lymeThe fifth annual Westport Bite Back for A Cure Walk/Run, hosted by the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance, will be held rain or shine on Sunday, April 7, at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport. U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal will make opening remarks.

The event, which will include a 5K and a 10K run, as well as a 1.5-mile and a three-mile walk, aims to increase awareness, promote advocacy and support initiatives to eradicate Lyme and other tick-borne diseases.

According to a 2011 study from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 96% of reported cases of Lyme disease occurred in 13 states, and Connecticut ranked at the top of that list. The CDC has also singled out Lyme disease as the most common and fastest growing vector-borne, infectious disease in the country.

At this time, there are no vaccines to prevent Lyme disease or co-infections from occurring in the United States, and available diagnostic tools have proven to be unreliable.

In addition, many sufferers of tick-borne illnesses are unaware they are even victims of these diseases due to a lack of understanding of the symptoms.

“Awareness is of utmost importance for prevention, early diagnosis and effective treatment,” said Orna Grand, organizer of the Westport walk. “All of us participating in the Westport Bite Back for a Cure Run/Walk on April 7 aim to better educate the public about how to protect themselves from these devastating diseases. Everyone who lives in Connecticut and other Lyme saturated areas would benefit from knowing what a tick looks like, how to remove it and what to do if you do find one.”

“To stop tick-borne diseases from spreading, we must all work together,” said David Roth, co-chairman of the Tick-Borne Disease Alliance. “The Tick-Borne Disease Alliance was created to bond together the tick-borne disease community and address this issue from a unified front. The Bite Back for a Cure Run/ Walk series provides local communities with a tangible opportunity to help in this fight.”

Early registration fees are $25 per person and $70 per family. Onsite registration fees are $35 per person and $80 per family. Children under 10 are free.

Onsite registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. on April 7. Opening remarks will be at 10:30. Runners will start at 1, followed by walkers at 11:15. The awards ceremony for the runners and the highest fund-raisers will be at 12:30 p.m. Information stations, music, food and more will be available.

For more information or to volunteer, visit tbdalliance.org/walks. You may also contact Orna Grand at 203-454-4024 or ornag55@gmail.com.

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