Lifespan Lyme Disease Center opens at Newport Hospital

NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — The Lifespan Lyme Disease Center at Newport Hospital has opened to respond to the growing threat of tick-borne diseases, the organization announced Thursday.

The center will offer a multidisciplinary approach to treating tick-borne illnesses, including physical therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and nutrition guidance, and will “unite academic and clinical infectious disease experts,” according to a news release.

“This is a big medical problem and a big challenge, particularly in Rhode Island,” said Dr. Timothy P. Flanigan, the center’s medical director. “Reported cases of Lyme disease in Rhode Island alone rose fourfold over the past six years, and the rise in other tick-borne illnesses, such as babesiosis, ehrlichiosis and anaplasmosis, is almost as steep.”

The Lifespan Lyme Disease Center is also equipped to address post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome, or chronic Lyme disease, which 10 to 20-percent of Lyme disease patients will experience symptoms from. The center is prepared to treat other tick-borne illnesses as well.

“There are newer tick-borne illnesses that we are just starting to discover and all of these can affect patients’ lives,” said Dr. Rebecca Reese, a lead physician at the center. “This is a place where patients will be cared for long term.”

“This is a wellness model,” Flanigan added, “and our aim is to help patients build their immune response, their resilience, and quite simply — to feel better, and get back to daily living.”

The Lifespan Lyme Disease Center at Newport Hospital is currently accepting patients. More information can be found on their website or patients can call  (401) 845-1644.

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