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Lyme is an epidemic

It’s very upsetting to me that there seems to be little acknowledgement that there is a Lyme epidemic going on in the US.

Instead, in 2016, we hear about the few cases of Zika virus [update… Zika causes an autoimmune disease! http://scientificamerican.com/article/scientists-find-zika-increases-risk-of-rare-neurological-illness/%5D. And yes, this can and will continue to get worse too, but meanwhile there are millions of cases of Lyme each year. Many will get caught soon enough (typically within a month) to treat successfully with a single 20-or-so day round of antibiotics. But many won’t. Here in Massachusetts, I personally know probably 10 people who have had Lyme and treated OK, and another 3 who are having ongoing long-term effects and still under treatment.

Some other comments:

1. The IDSA (from 2006!) guidelines probably need updating.

2. It’s been my experience that most people who have gotten to the bottom of their Lyme has been a result of SELF DIAGNOSIS. Doctors for the most part are misdiagnosing Lyme, which is shameful.

3. I am assuming it’s a combination of 1) healthcare professionals (doctors, dentists) not knowing 2) concern for antibiotic overuse 3) insurance companies concerned about costly treatments for people with chronic lyme (or “post-lyme disease syndrome”)

4. There is also a huge explosion in autoimmune diseases in the last 20+ years. Many of these are difficult to diagnose vs Lyme. In many cases, a differential diagnosis is VERY difficult to make and you can find Pubmed articles discussing the fact that many cases of Lupus, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, etc. are actually Lyme.

5. At some level, it doesn’t really matter — both Lyme AND autoimmune diseases are 1) not well understood, 2) no easy treatment, 3) underdiagnosed.

SEE:

“1,500,000 fresh infected Borrelia patients each year in Germany.”
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/c-m-rubin/the-global-search-for-edu_b_3839801.html
CDC increased the number of annual diagnoses by ten fold, from 30-thousand to 300-thousand. (and this is probably very low as well)
New front in the Lyme wars

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/08/26/whats-wrong-with-me
“The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA) estimates that as many as fifty million Americans suffer from autoimmunity, which makes it one of the most prevalent categories of disease, ahead of cancer. It is a leading cause of illness in young women. (Three-quarters of autoimmune patients are women.) “

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