Lyme disease prevalent in Midwest

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(WAND) - Research shows Lyme disease cases are predominately seen in the Midwest and each year, and around 30,000 cases are reported.

According to the CDC, the most recent report of Lyme disease cases in Illinois was 233 in 2016. That's when Tara Zindaris' son, who was five-years-old at the time, contracted the disease. Since then, it's been her mission to educate how a small bite from a tick can impact a family's life.

Bentley Zindaris is a seven-year-old boy who does what most boys do at his age; go out swimming, fishing and riding bikes. Compared to his two older brothers, his mother said he's the adventurous one.

"He's an awesome kid," Zindaris said. "Even though he looks sick, he's got one of those invisible illnesses that everyone should be aware about."

Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria that's usually found in ticks. It's known to make someone have flu-like symptoms, joint pain and develop a rash. It was a heart breaking moment for Zindaris, after Bentley went mushroom hunting one day. She said Bentley was flown to a hospital in Peoria and a doctor confirmed the disease after blood tests. However, its possible to get treatment for the disease. Bentley has to take antibiotic medicine. He says having Lyme disease didn't crush his spirit.  

"He fights, he wants to get better, he wants to live," Zindaris said.

It should be noted that ticks attach to bare skin. It's suggested one should cover up, especially in wooded and grassy areas. Experts say wear insect repellent and don't assume being immune to the disease.

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