The gift from Union Savings Bank will enable WCHN to strengthen its Lyme disease program by offering expanded community education about tick-borne diseaseprevention, diagnosis, and treatment.
“An estimated 300,000 people in the U.S., including 22,000 Connecticut residents, are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year,” said Joann Petrini, PhD, director of clinical outcomes and health services research at WCHN. “This number grows year to year. Major efforts are needed to combat the continuous increase in cases.”
WCHN started the first hospital-based registry in the nation to focus interdisciplinary research on the impact of Lyme disease. The WCHN Lyme Disease Registry aims to build an increasingly robust database of information gathered from individuals diagnosed with Lyme disease.
“We are deeply grateful to Union Savings Bank and its leadership for their support of this initiative,” said John M. Murphy, MD, president and CEO of WCHN. “This funding will allow us to expand our research efforts to better understand how to treat and prevent the disease. The Bank’s support of our mission of improving the health of our community is invaluable.”
Lyme disease is spread by the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis, also known as the deer tick, which is typically found in wooded and grassy areas. Most cases of Lyme disease occur between May and September, although it is possible to contract Lyme disease during the winter. Common symptoms of Lyme disease can include fever, headache, and fatigue, all of which can be easily confused with the flu. Some patients, but not all, develop a characteristic bull’s-eye rash soon after a tick bite.
“Union Savings Bank truly cares about the health of the communities in which we live, work and serve,” said Cynthia C. Merkle, president and CEO of Union Savings Bank. “Lyme disease can affect anyone and we believe in supporting the Western Connecticut Health Network in its research, education and search for new treatments for this debilitating disease.”
If you have been diagnosed with Lyme disease and are interested in learning more about the WCHN Lyme Disease Registry, please call (203) 739-8383 or visit lymeregistry.org.