Retirement Systems of Alabama Buildings to "Go Green” for Lyme Disease Awareness Month

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May has been declared "Lyme Disease Awareness Month" in Alabama by Governor Kay Ivey. To recognize Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Alabama the RSA Buildings in Montgomery and Mobile are Going Green.

According to the CDC, Lyme and other Tick-Borne Diseases affect more than 300,000 people per year. Because so many are affected, Lyme disease is often called “The Hidden Epidemic.” Symptoms of Lyme disease can mimic many other diseases including MS, ALS, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Lupus and HUNDREDS of others!

As part of events to raise awareness during Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Alabama, the brilliant LED lights on the exterior of several large RSA landmarks in Montgomery and Mobile will be changed to green during the weekend of May 5th-7th. The Retirement Systems of Alabama boasts the tallest building in Alabama’s Capitol City and the largest building in the State that is located in Mobile. Although the RSA buildings will be the most visible, other landmarks, structures and even porch lights are planned to be lit across the state in an effort to raise awareness for this devastating disease in Alabama.

Alabama Lyme Disease Association (ALDA) President and Founder, Kevin Wolfe says, “We hope that these prominent displays will be a reminder to citizens to remain vigilant and know the steps to avoid contracting Lyme and other tick-borne diseases. Additionally, it is critical know the signs of infection and seek help immediately if you experience any signs or symptoms of infection.” Wolfe adds that, “Most importantly we need for medical professionals to educate themselves, and be able to identify obvious signs of infection in their patients. We desperately need the medical community in Alabama to stop denying that there is a problem and help those affected.”

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has declared several counties in Alabama to be endemic for Lyme disease. In 2015 the ADPH sent a letter to all physicians in the endemic counties warning them of the potential risk to their patients and to inform them that “Lyme disease should be considered in anyone with appropriate clinical symptoms” and that “this applies statewide" not just the endemic counties. Even with this very specific notification to physicians, Wolfe reports that, “patients from endemic counties, with obvious clinical signs of infection (some even with a positive blood test) still report being told by their physician that they cannot have Lyme disease because it is not in Alabama”.

ALDA is an all-volunteer non-profit association formed in 2012. Since its inception, ALDA has quickly grown to serve those affected by Lyme disease in Alabama and has become a primary Lyme disease information source for Alabamians and others around the world. ALDA will be hosting fundraising, awareness and educational events across the State (including the Fight the Bite Run/Walk in Hoover on May 6th) throughout the month of May. These lightings provide a great backdrop for a photo opportunity for those affected by Lyme in Alabama. For more information visit their website at: http://www.AlabamaLymeDisease.org

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Kevin Wolfe
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