Marketing the battle against Lyme Disease

Ronn Lassiter and Sherry Bender are getting out the word about taking steps to battle Lyme Disease and marketing a device they developed that tests ticks for the bacterial infection.

The lymenator has drawing interest from retailers and can be found in some local stores.

“We educate people on Lyme Disease,” Bender said.

Bender and Lassiter, one might say, are on a kind of mission. Both of them suffered at one point from Lyme Disease and want to spare others the pain and misery of the infection.

Lyme Disease, caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Fever, headaches, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans are among the typical symptoms. Left untreated, the infection can spread to joints, the heart and the nervous system. Some 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are annually reported to the Centers for Disease Control by state health departments and the District of Columbia. However, it is believed that many more cases go unreported.

Part of the problem of Lyme Disease is the problem of successfully diagnosing it. Many people live with the symptoms for years before ever realizing they even have Lyme Disease. Using the lymenator to test a tick can provide a potentially infected person with a sense of empowerment, Bender noted.

“This is a great way to be pro-active,” Lassiter said.

The lymenator, they noted, does not reveal if a person has Lyme Disease, but can determine if the tick is infected. Lassiter said the real benefit of the test is that it gives instant results.

“Who wants to wait?” Bender said. “This gives you an early warning.”

The lymenator uses the POP, or Proof of Presence test, a five-step process that initially involves dropping a live or dead tick into a vial. The tick is mashed to release bacteria and the vial shaken.

The solution is then placed on a test cassette with the test results revealed between three and 30 minutes.

Bender said the POP test can be the first step toward being treated for Lyme Disease.