My brush with Lyme disease and what my Rotary club is doing to help

The ticks that cause Lyme disease can be small, and the victim often does not feel their bite.

The ticks that cause Lyme disease can be small, and the victim often does not feel their bite.

By Stephen “Steve” Borgos

I’m a longtime Rotarian from Glens Falls, New York, USA. I taught college-level business administration for 31 years, served as a local elected government official and as executive director of the regional emergency medical service council, and made a part-time occupation of commercial real estate sales into a full-time retirement job. At age 68, I began considering slowing down, but I was still going strong.

Then in the spring of 2010, I began to notice significant changes in my energy and concentration levels. My cognitive function became compromised, to the point where I began to experience trouble navigating my way home after meetings more than a few miles away. There were times when my wife had to accompany me to meetings to respond to simple questions, because I couldn’t find words to answer for myself. I realized that what I had thought were simply natural changes due to aging might be something else.

Within 10 days of visiting my doctor, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease, an infectious disease caused by bacteria of the Borrelia type transmitted through the bite of a tick. I could remember getting a number of bites in the past, but I hadn’t paid much attention, as the test results were always negative. (The common blood tests for Lyme are notoriously inaccurate.) But this time, tests, and an expanding bull’s-eye rash that can be a telltale sign of the disease, confirmed the infection. After several years of expensive antibiotic treatments, my Lyme disease seems to be under control.

Lyme disease and the insidious co-infections that cause serious illness are a major public health concern that will challenge our health and our health care system if we don’t get a much better handle on them now. There are about 300,000 new cases each year in the United States, and about 30 percent of those develop into long-term or chronic illness. The current levels of education and attention to this disease are inadequate. Recent research at Johns Hopkins, a major medical research institution, indicated that $1.3 billion are spent to attend to patients with Lyme disease each year.

My Rotary club recently established a special committee to increase public awareness of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Join us in this effort by sending an email to

Do you have a Lyme disease story?

8 thoughts on “My brush with Lyme disease and what my Rotary club is doing to help

  1. I’ve heard about a new ultraviolet machine called the UVLRx that’s being used for Lyme patients. It uses a fiber optic thread which is inserted directly into the vein and the treatment lasts for an hour, so all the blood is treated. Has anyone tried this?


  2. Good job there, Rotary Club of Glens Falls! Keep up the good work. Our organization , Rotary International teaches us to add value always, lend a hand and ‘Be a gift to the world’ ! I pray you fully recover, Steve. ….. Best wishes from my club members. RTN Tessy of the Rotary club of Enugu Municipal, Nigeria.


  3. Thank you for sharing your experience with Lyme disease. Apparently it can spread from human to human, dog to dog, as well as mosquitoes and mice. Quite an alarming scenario! Your report will help all the readers of your article to seek immediate medical advice if bitten by ticks.
    Wishing you the best of health.
    Yours in Rotary


  4. Pingback: My brush with Lyme disease and what my Rotary club is doing to help | The Rotary Club of Carteret

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