Lyme Disease Update
Ashley van Tol
Lyme disease is the #1 vector borne illness in the North America and Europe. In the United States, the number of reported cases has doubled in the last decade and the infection incidence has become larger than HIV. Lyme Disease is estimated to be the second largest infectious disease in the United States, hepatitis C being the first. Worldwide, Lyme Disease is rapidly spreading through Canada, Europe, and Asia. (1)
Often referred to as the great imitator, Lyme disease is rarely properly diagnosed at the onset of infection. The illness is commonly misdiagnosed as; Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) which is often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Lupus, Parkinson’s Disease and many other chronic illness and syndromes. A great many sufferers are told that they are not sick at all and are referred to a psychotherapist or told to, “get over it”.
Undiagnosed and misdiagnosed Lyme disease can lead to severe health problems including Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Bell’s Palsy, heart rhythm irregularities, cognitive defects, neurological symptoms, memory loss, brain fog, seizures, depression, anxiety, psychosis and more, including death.
It is estimated that there are up to 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease each year in the U.S. alone (2). Yet, only around 30,000 of them will be properly diagnosed and reported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The CDC themselves admit that the actual cases of Lyme disease could be up to 10 times higher than those reported.*
Most people know that Lyme disease is contracted from the bite of a tick carrying the disease. What many do not know is that it can be passed in utero to an unborn child and through blood transfusions. There are also reports that the disease may be sexually transmitted.
The Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) maintain that Lyme disease is hard to catch and easy to cure. They insist that the infection is rare, easy to diagnose and cured with two to four weeks of antibiotics. The IDSA further claims that chronic infection by the Lyme bacterium is rare or nonexistent.
The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), a group of community-based physicians, argue that Lyme disease is not rare and tick bites often go unnoticed. Testing methods for Lyme disease are inaccurate and the vast majority of medical practitioners do not recognize Lyme and it symptoms.
By the time many Lyme patients are properly diagnosed their health has deteriorated far beyond what the IDSA’s two to four weeks of treatment can fix. Lyme opens the door to other opportunistic infections including additional tick borne illnesses that may have been contracted at the same time as Lyme. Viruses, parasites, candida and other bacterial infections not related to Lyme have taken control of the patients immune system.
Lyme Literate Medical Doctors (LLMDs), who are very hard to come by, tell the newly diagnosed it will be at least two to four years of treatment. There are no guarantees that they will get well though, some are past the point of no return. For many treatment is management, not cure.
*In 2013 the CDC released new numbers changing the incidence rate from 30,000 per year to 300,000.