A Woman in Florida Fights Lyme Disease Ways to Stay Away from It!

Lyme disease is caused by germs and affects many people every year. It is spread by deer bug bites. Most of the cases are in the northeast and upper Midwest, but we also see people in Florida who have it.

Living with Late-Stage Lyme Disease

“The University of South Florida was a great place to get my PhD in public health,” Tara Foti said. Foti got her dream job at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, California, one of the best healthcare providers in the United States. She has worked in health care for 20 years and loves her job.

Foti said, “I got to work with a dream mentor, and we did really important research about drug use during pregnancy.”


Things were going well in her life until she started feeling tired all the time and in terrible pain. Foti said, “I had to ask for work accommodations in order to have a flexible schedule.” But it was clear right away that she wouldn’t be able to do her job. That’s why she moved back to Tampa to be close to family and the doctors she already knew. “So, the health department called me and said, ‘We got your blood work.'” The CDC has confirmed that you have Lyme disease. “That shocked me a lot,” Foti said.

A Woman in Florida Fights Lyme Disease Ways to Stay Away from It

In January 2023, she was told she had late-stage cerebral Lyme disease. She still doesn’t know how she got it, though.

“And I thought, ‘Okay, that makes sense.'” “My nerves are hurting,” Foti said. “But what do you do if you have neurological Lyme disease in its late stages?” They told him, “The only goal would be to keep you comfortable.”

How to Prevent Getting Lyme Disease

“If there are ticks there, you could get bitten by them, and getting bitten by ticks can spread the disease,” Spectra Wellness Solutions’ George Springer said. This disease was first found in Lyme, Connecticut, in 1975, and I wanted to learn more about it and how to avoid getting it. I went to see Dr. George Springer. He really knows a lot about it.

If people want to try to avoid getting it, Dr. Springer always tells them, “If you’ve been hiking, especially in the woods or those kinds of places, just check each other out.” Dr. Springer said you should look for a red spot or rash. If they are there, you should see a doctor right away so that you can possibly start taking antibiotics.

Controlling the Tick Population in Florida

Dr. Deby Cassill from the University of South Florida said, “Most of the time, someone with Lyme disease in Florida got it from a tick carrying that bacteria in another state.”

What about the ticks that spread Lyme disease? How common are they in Florida? “So, in Florida, it turns out to be very common to drive quickly north of the I-4 corridor.” “So, from Tampa going north all the way up to Tallahassee,” said Dr. Greg Glass from the University of Florida. Both professors said that there aren’t any plans to control tick populations that work, as well as the ones we have for mosquitoes.

“They can show that they have an effect, but it’s not what we call a population effect.” I don’t think they really get the number down to a level that lowers the risk for people, Dr. Glass said. “One thing about Florida: we have fire ants, and it turns out that fire ants love to eat tick and mites’ young and their eggs.” “They’re now our best friends when it comes to Lyme disease,” Dr. Cassill said.

The Road Ahead and The Fight Against Lyme Disease

For Foti, she’s still tired, but she just found an expert who makes her feel hopeful about the future.

“He was the first person I thought could really see the whole picture, but he’s not in Tampa.” He’s in Miami, which is across the state, and he doesn’t take insurance, so this is hard in other ways, Foti said.

Foti said that her family had to pay almost $26,000 for their hospital bills. There is a GoFundMe page for the Foti family to help with the costs.

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