Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) is the most complex bacterium known to science. Lyme disease is a very complex illness, not always easy to diagnose or treat.
Lyme disease is the most widespread vector-borne disease in the USA and is a major problem worldwide. Ticks know no borders and respect no boundaries. A patient’s county of residence does not accurately reflect his or her Lyme disease risk.
Lyme disease has been frequently misdiagnosed, especially in absence of the rash, as MS, ALS, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and others. Lyme disease is often referred to as “The Great Imitator”, as it can virtually imitate any symptom of any disease.
In 2007, 27,244 cases of Lyme disease were reported to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). That is 2,287 cases per month, 571 cases each week, 77 cases per day, and 3 people each hour.
Older people can develop Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and/or Multiple Sclerosis Disease, if they have undiagnosed Lyme Disease.
Younger people *especially women) can develop Multiple Sclerosis Disease, if they have undiagnosed Lyme Disease.
Lab tests for Lyme disease are not reliable. A person may test negative for Lyme disease and still have the disease. Patients report having problems getting diagnosed and are often diagnosed late. In 1988 the NY Health Dept. warned physicians that the ‘two-tiered’ (ELISA/Western Blot) criterion was missing up to 45% of positive Lyme cases. In 2005, a study by John’s Hopkins University concluded that the IDSA-endorsed two-tier criteria was missing 75% of positive Lyme cases.
Fewer than 50% of people infected get the bull’s eye rash. Some develop flu-like symptoms a week or so after becoming infected, however, many people are asymptomatic but can develop Lyme symptoms months, years or decades later.
The Lyme spirochete bacteria is hard to detect and hard to kill. Lyme disease is growing at epidemic proportions in the United States.
The medical community is divided over the diagnosis and treatment guidelines. Health insurance often doesn’t cover the treatment for Chronic Lyme disease.
There has never been a study showing that 30 days of antibiotics cures Lyme disease, yet there is a differing opinion about short-term versus long-term treatments. If symptoms return after short-term treatment it may indicate that the bacteria have not been fully eliminated. Without further treatment the patient could become much more ill and suffer from Chronic Lyme disease.
DEET is effective. Bug repellents that contains the chemical substance DEET (N,N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) are one of the most efficient to get rid of Lyme-carrying ticks while you are outdoors. Use it correctly: Only cover the exposed parts of your body. If you’re using it for your children, don’t apply DEET onto their hands, small children often put their hands in their mouth.