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Lyme Disease Awareness Month: Peter Sarsgaard says he was lucky to have been 'spared the ravages' of illness

After being infected twice, Peter Sarsgaard spoke of how his family is now cautious and always takes precautions
Peter Sarsgaard (Getty Images)
Peter Sarsgaard (Getty Images)

There are many celebrities that have come forward with their diagnoses of Lyme disease, such as Avril Lavigne, Bella, and Yolanda Hadid, and Shania Twain. The illness notoriously affects all organs and causes symptoms that are hard to handle. Spread by ticks, Lyme disease usually goes unnoticed or is diagnosed at a later stage due to its array of symptoms. However, some get lucky and are able to get an early diagnosis, and one such person is actor Peter Sarsgaard.

In 2007, it was reported that actor Peter Sarsgaard returned to New York after having contracted the disease at Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. The actor was there on a holiday with Maggie Gyllenhaal and their daughter, Ramona. A source had said, "Peter got Lyme disease from a tick and had to leave Martha’s Vineyard for a week." 

Peter Sarsgaard was infected with Lyme disease not once but twice during summer at Martha's Vineyard. Speaking to Lyme Research Alliance, Sarsgaard said, "I was essentially asymptomatic the first time and as we all know the testing isn't reliable. I'm a runner who likes to go off the beaten track so I was particularly at-risk. But Martha's Vineyard is the bullseye for getting the [hallmark] bullseye [rash]. I was lucky that I was spared the ravages of the disease."

Lyme disease is an illness caused by ticks through the transfer of the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium. The victim suffers from a rash, and flu-like symptoms. If not treated, symptoms such as joint pain and weakness show up and the disease can affect the heart and the nervous system. People with Lyme disease are most commonly treated with antibiotics, while symptoms such as pain are treated with pain medications.

After being infected, Sarsgaard spoke of how the family is now cautious and always takes precautions.

"I caught it early since my family and I performed nightly tick checks and I made it a regular practice after every summer to get tested. Everyone around me took it very seriously and I am thankful to all of them for making me so vigilant," said the actor. In order to recover from the tick-borne illness, one has to leave the place that they had initially gotten infected in. Sarsgaard had come back to Brooklyn for the recovery process.

May is National Lyme Disease Awareness Month, and it brings an opportunity for Lyme patients, activists, and educators to share tips and open up about Lyme and tick-borne diseases. In this column, we highlight the struggles of celebrities and talk about preventive and cure measures.