One fact is certain, Lyme Disease is the fastest growing vector-borne illness in the United States. “But nearly everything else about Lyme disease—the symptoms, the diagnosis, the prevalence, the behavior of the Borrelia spirochete after it infects the body, and the correct approach to treatment—is contested bitterly and publicly. Even the definition of Lyme disease, and the terminology used to describe it, has fueled years of acrimonious debate.1”
On one side of the medical controversy is those who that say Lyme Disease is easy to diagnose, usually cured with 3 – 4 weeks of antibiotic treatment and that relapses are rare. On the opposite side of the spectrum are those who believe that the lingering, sometimes debilitating, symptoms are due to a continuing Lyme Disease infection, which may be made worse by tick-borne co-infections.
The results of this heated battle:
- delays in diagnosis and treatment
- frustration on both the part of the patient and physician
- continued suffering due to persistent symptoms
- confusion regarding treatment protocols
“The diagnosis and treatment options for Lyme Disease and co-infections is continually evolving. It is imperative that patients and/or family and friends educate themselves and become and advocate for their health rights.2”
The American Hospital Association Patient Bill of Rights
“The patient has the right to make decisions about the plan of care before and during treatment,
and is entitled to the chance to discuss and request information about the specific procedures
and/or treatments, the risks involved, the possible length of recuperation and the
medically reasonable alternatives and their risks and benefits.”
1Specter, Michael. “The Lyme Wars – The New Yorker.” The New Yorker. 1 July 2013. Web. 18 Mar. 2016.
2PA Lyme Resource Network. Changing the Healthcare Landscape for Lyme and Tick-borne Diseases in Pennsylvania. North Wales, PA: PA Lyme Resource Network. Print.