Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease (KTLA / May 16, 2012)

LOS ANGELES (KTLA) -- One bite from a bloodsucking tick could make you very sick.

Lyme Disease isn't only a risk on the East Coast. The disease caused by a tick bite is becoming more common in California.

More than 20,000 people are infected with Lyme Disease every year.

But doctors say it's one of the most mysterious, misunderstood and misdiagnosed illnesses.

Those living with Lyme say it's debilitating and painful.

"It has slowly broken down my body and has deteriorated me," said Stephanie Vostry, a model who has Lyme. "I feel like my life has been taken away from me. Everything I ever cared about it was taken away in seconds."

The first tell-tale sign of Lyme is a bull's eye-type rash.

If the disease is identified early enough, a short course of antibiotics can wipe out the typical symptoms of headache and fatigue.

But if it's left untreated, victims like Vostry say they suffer from an excruciating condition called Chronic Lyme Disease.

Some health professionals say no science supports this persistent stage of the disease.

But those like Vostry say it can cause intense joint pain, severe arthritis, nerve damage and even heart failure.