Iowans now able to get more aggressive treatment in state for on - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowans now able to get more aggressive treatment in state for one disease

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

A disease you can get simply by enjoying the outdoors can now be treated more aggressively here in Iowa.

This comes after the House and Senate passed a bill allowing doctors to treat Lyme Disease with methods recommended by health organizations other than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

KWWL spoke with one man who saw Chronic Lyme Disease take everything from him.

He along with many other Iowans had, or are currently having, to travel to another state to find the treatment needed to cure them of a disease that could kill you.

You wouldn't know it by looking at him now, but Kent Larsen spent most of his life battling Lyme Disease, but he didn't know it.

"I had been chronically and mysteriously ill most of my adult life," said Larsen.

Doctors were unable to correctly diagnose him for decades.

"Two weeks after 9/11, I woke up temporarily paralyzed from the neck down. The diagnose they were giving me were end-of-life type or accept your diagnoses," said Larsen.

Kent's body was wasting away from the disease.

"My kids were 7 or 8-years-old, I was in so much pain, I thought I was going to commit suicide. I decided that I was going to beat this damn thing, and I can't believe I am a grand-dad," said Larsen.

 Larsen is now healthy and fit thanks to a Missouri doctor's diagnosis.

 Kent's story is one many in Iowa are facing because the current law doesn't allow for aggressive enough treatment.

"The test can come back negative, even though you have full blown symptoms," said Larsen.

A false-negative is common in Lyme disease, according to Larsen, causing many to go untreated.

Two local women lost their lives to the disease, just recently, because of late treatment.

Those who survive suffer financially.

"We ended up filing bankruptcy and going homeless over this," said Larsen. "The typical pattern in Iowa has been this: you get infected, you get denied that you have it, your productivity at work goes down, you drain your savings trying to figure out what is wrong, you lose your job, you drain your IRA, your 401k, lose your house, you file for bankruptcy, you go on disability and have to be on Medicaid. This is draining the state of Iowa in several different ways."  

The difference between quick treatment is roughly a $100 of antibiotics verse thousands for late treatment and out-of-state travel costs.

The bill passed this week will allow doctors to treat the symptoms of Lyme Disease with a 90-day antibiotic if they are sure despite a false testing the patient has Lyme Disease.

The new bill is expected to be signed into law on Thursday by Governor Branstad, allowing doctors to follow standards put in place by the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society.

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