Ben Stiller, the acclaimed actor known for his roles in Night at the Museum and Meet the Fockers, recently shared his experience with Lyme disease. During a trip to Africa, Stiller developed knee pain that progressively worsened. Initially believing it was a travel-related injury, his health continued to decline, leaving him with debilitating joint pain. On The Late Show with David Letterman, Stiller disclosed that his knee became “stiff and worse and worse” after he fell into a hidden ditch outside one of the villages in the country. After undergoing various tests, a New York doctor diagnosed him with disseminated Lyme disease.
While Stiller is now “symptom-free,” he warns that Lyme disease can remain in the body indefinitely. This highlights the severity of tick-borne illnesses, which affect over 500,000 Americans every year. Of those, 36% develop chronic Lyme disease, leading to long-term and severe symptoms according to researcher Doctor Tim Haystead from Duke University. The prevalence of tick-borne illnesses demands increased awareness and education about prevention and early detection.
Stiller’s experience sheds light on the importance of recognizing the signs and symptoms of tick-borne illnesses, as early detection is critical in achieving a positive outcome. By increasing awareness and taking preventative measures, such as wearing protective clothing and regularly checking for ticks, we can better protect ourselves from the long-term effects of these illnesses.