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21: Lyme Disease: An Emerging Epidemic

Lyme disease is one of the most political and controversial epidemics of our time. The disease originates from a bacteria transmitted through the bite of a tick and can remain hidden,  mimicking other diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, ADHD and other neurological conditions, thus it is often called “the great imitator”.  And it is growing – new cases of Lyme occur each year at a rate ten times higher than that of AIDS and the West Nile Virus combined.

Current Lyme treatment guidelines were developed by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), a group associated with pharmaceutical, insurance and university interests that are profiting from the diagnostic criteria, vaccines and recommended treatments for Lyme. These guidelines, endorsed by the National Institutes of Health and the CDC, define the treatment of Lyme as a two- to four-week course of antibiotic therapy.

Physicians who believe Lyme is a more chronic condition needing long-term treatment risk losing their medical license for treating patients outside IDSA guidelines. And insurance companies refuse to pay for longer treatments despite evidence that illustrates the chronic nature of the condition and the effectiveness of long-term therapies. This leaves thousands of Lyme patients suffering from a commercialized medical community that won’t acknowledge the chronic nature of their illness and a public uneducated about a growing epidemic.

Sources:

Statement of the National Non Profit Lyme Disease Association on the IDSA Guidelines Panel Decision, Lyme Disease Association, April 22, 2010. http://www.lymediseaseassociation.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=616:idsa-guidelines-panel-decision-4-22-10&catid=7:conflict-report&Itemid=398

“MA Governor Signs Lyme Disease Doctor Protection Bill into Law.” Lyme Disease Association, June 30, 2010. http://www.lymediseaseassociation.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=670:ma-governor-signs-lyme-disease-doctor-protection-bill-into-law-june-30-2010&catid=7:conflict-report&Itemid=398

HealthWatch: Bay Area Lyme Disease Patient Fights Insurer, CBS-San Francisco, Nov. 23, 2010. http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2010/11/23/healthwatch-bay-area-lyme-disease-patient-fights-insurer

“Reported Cases of Lyme Disease by Year.”  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Posted: August 26, 2010. http://www.cdc.gov /ncidod/dvbid/lyme/ ld_UpClimbLymeDis.htm

“Basic Information about Lyme Disease,” ILADS – International Lyme and Associated
Diseases Society. http://www.ilads.org/lyme_disease/about_lyme.html

“Under Our Skin,” Documentary, Andy Wilson, Director. Open Eye Productions, 2008. http://www.underourskin.com

Student Researcher: Ashley Myers, San Francisco State University

Faculty Advisor: Kenn Burrows, San Francisco State University

  • Asdf October 11, 2011

    Remember that Lyme disease originated in Lyme, Connecticut. A nearby research facility on Plum Island was researching similar strains when Lyme disease first originated. US SUCKS

  • Asdf October 11, 2011

    Remember that Lyme disease originated in Lyme, Connecticut. A nearby research facility on Plum Island was researching similar strains when Lyme disease first originated. US SUCKS

  • Lion Goodman October 19, 2011

    Watch the documentary mentioned above – “Under Our Skin.”  It’s a frightening indictment of the organizations trying to keep the public ignorant.  This is a bad disease.  My former partner was decimated by it.  Fortunately there are treatments, but you have to search for them.

  • Lion Goodman October 19, 2011

    Watch the documentary mentioned above – “Under Our Skin.”  It’s a frightening indictment of the organizations trying to keep the public ignorant.  This is a bad disease.  My former partner was decimated by it.  Fortunately there are treatments, but you have to search for them.

  • John October 21, 2011

    I got it on a visit to the US in 2000 and I’ve never felt fully well since. I’ve been tired ever since. Doctors seem to shy away from the subject when you mention it, even in New Zealand.

  • John October 21, 2011

    I got it on a visit to the US in 2000 and I’ve never felt fully well since. I’ve been tired ever since. Doctors seem to shy away from the subject when you mention it, even in New Zealand.

  • John October 21, 2011

    I got it on a visit to the US in 2000 and I’ve never felt fully well since. I’ve been tired ever since. Doctors seem to shy away from the subject when you mention it, even in New Zealand.

  • Arkiehinny December 5, 2011

    It’s absolutely a huge problem and more widespread than AIDS, yet it’s “hush-hush” and those who speak out are dismissed as “those fanatics”.   One day the lid will blow and this whole thing will erupt like Mt. St. Helens!

  • Arkiehinny December 5, 2011

    It’s absolutely a huge problem and more widespread than AIDS, yet it’s “hush-hush” and those who speak out are dismissed as “those fanatics”.   One day the lid will blow and this whole thing will erupt like Mt. St. Helens!

  • Frances Madeline Costelloe December 5, 2011

    It isn’t possible to see an Infectious Disease Specialist, or receive treatment for Chronic Lyme Disease in Albany NY. Why? Because it has been established that Chronic Lyme Disease does not exist. Once treated for x number of days with antibiotics — it’s gone. NOT REALLY! And sadly, many doctors are still relying on inaccurate blood tests results for a diagnosis of this pernicious and widespread disease.

    • Allie Ciampoli December 5, 2011

      There’s a Lymes specialist in Rhinebeck, NY that I’ve been seeing for the past two years.

      • kishan April 6, 2012

        Hey Allie can you provide me the information of the doctor in my email address i was diagnosed with Lyme and would really appreciate if you send me his  information. My email address is kishanadhi@gmail.com

      • footographer December 1, 2012

        are you going to Dr. Cameron?

      • footographer December 1, 2012

        are you going to Dr. Cameron?

    • Owen December 6, 2011

      As long as the insurance industry runs our healthcare system, nothing good will happen for Lyme disease victims. If they ignore it, they won’t have to pay for it, see?  Besides, all those sick workers are just shirkers anyway, right?

      “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”
      Vote Democrat.

      • juneau December 30, 2011

        Wow – that’s funny! If you think it’s ONLY insurance companies making the rules, you’d better do a little more research on CDC and IDSA involvement in the Lyme war. The ‘Affordable Health Care Reform Act’ recently passed does not obligate docs or insurance companies to treat or pay for Lyme treatment because the CDC says that “Chronic Lyme,” does not exist and further antibiotic treatment beyond a few weeks does nothing. Vote for whomever will repeal this health care monstrosity…Lyme sufferers only hope will be a free-market system where, at least, there are still some doctors willing to treat outside gov’t guidelines.= and researchers are still willing to work for private funding.

  • Frances Madeline Costelloe December 5, 2011

    It isn’t possible to see an Infectious Disease Specialist, or receive treatment for Chronic Lyme Disease in Albany NY. Why? Because it has been established that Chronic Lyme Disease does not exist. Once treated for x number of days with antibiotics — it’s gone. NOT REALLY! And sadly, many doctors are still relying on inaccurate blood tests results for a diagnosis of this pernicious and widespread disease.

    • Allie Ciampoli December 5, 2011

      There’s a Lymes specialist in Rhinebeck, NY that I’ve been seeing for the past two years.

      • kishan April 6, 2012

        Hey Allie can you provide me the information of the doctor in my email address i was diagnosed with Lyme and would really appreciate if you send me his  information. My email address is kishanadhi@gmail.com

      • footographer December 1, 2012

        are you going to Dr. Cameron?

    • Owen December 6, 2011

      As long as the insurance industry runs our healthcare system, nothing good will happen for Lyme disease victims. If they ignore it, they won’t have to pay for it, see?  Besides, all those sick workers are just shirkers anyway, right?

      “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”
      Vote Democrat.

      • juneau December 30, 2011

        Wow – that’s funny! If you think it’s ONLY insurance companies making the rules, you’d better do a little more research on CDC and IDSA involvement in the Lyme war. The ‘Affordable Health Care Reform Act’ recently passed does not obligate docs or insurance companies to treat or pay for Lyme treatment because the CDC says that “Chronic Lyme,” does not exist and further antibiotic treatment beyond a few weeks does nothing. Vote for whomever will repeal this health care monstrosity…Lyme sufferers only hope will be a free-market system where, at least, there are still some doctors willing to treat outside gov’t guidelines.= and researchers are still willing to work for private funding.

  • Chispa January 7, 2012

    I am a scientist and have Lyme disease. At first the inclusion of Lyme disease as an epidemic in this list pleased me because of how the severity of the disease and the epidemic are usually dismissed. Then I read the article – and saw you cite IDSA first in your list of sources for the article. Shame on you for falling into the trap of false science promoted by people who profit from their unscientific claims. IDSA has been discredited for how they handle Lyme as a disease (refusing to acknowledge chronic LD, in particular),  treatment protocols, and conflict of interest. IDSA members who created their Lyme Treatment and Diagnosis Guidelines had personal profit behind their advice and have done more to harm the real story of Lyme disease than almost any other group. Be smart, projectcensored, and check your sources for credibility before using them.

    • Dan January 25, 2012

      The first source is not from the IDSA. It’s a criticism of the IDSA.

  • Chispa January 7, 2012

    I am a scientist and have Lyme disease. At first the inclusion of Lyme disease as an epidemic in this list pleased me because of how the severity of the disease and the epidemic are usually dismissed. Then I read the article – and saw you cite IDSA first in your list of sources for the article. Shame on you for falling into the trap of false science promoted by people who profit from their unscientific claims. IDSA has been discredited for how they handle Lyme as a disease (refusing to acknowledge chronic LD, in particular),  treatment protocols, and conflict of interest. IDSA members who created their Lyme Treatment and Diagnosis Guidelines had personal profit behind their advice and have done more to harm the real story of Lyme disease than almost any other group. Be smart, projectcensored, and check your sources for credibility before using them.

    • Dan January 25, 2012

      The first source is not from the IDSA. It’s a criticism of the IDSA.

  • Mariann Sawicki January 14, 2012

    Lyme is everywhere, I have been suffering for over 5 years, I am not too sure but I think I have had it for even longer and that the illness I had 15 years ago when they could not figure out what was wrong with me, was Lyme now that I know I have Lyme as the symptoms I had years ago are very similar to what I have been experiencing.  It lays dormant in the body, trust me on that and waits for the perfect opportunity to strike.  This time I had a bite, last time I do not recall one.  It also seems to target very healthy, fit and active people and comes a long with many other parasites and coinfections and yes I believe the biofilms are getting stronger, it loves to live in the sinuses or anywhere in the body where injuries have occurred.  Mariann Sawicki RN

    • Tom Fairbairn May 28, 2012

       You are correct about co-infections,  parasites and attacking you where you are weakest. I’ve spent years taking antibiotics and anti-yeast medications and it was years before I received a proper diagnosis. I read in my local paper about a Chico Doctor using the newer, more sensitive tests. This was after years of thinking I didn’t have Lyme because I’d been tested and the test was negative. The good doctor also found I had Babesia, a malaria like co-infection. I found out all a negative test means is the older insensitive tests rarely give a positive response. It doesn’t mean you don’t have Lyme. I’ve been trying everything. Organic Foods, expensive supplements promoted by a Naturalpathic  Physician and Vet. A miracle mineral supplement claimed to heal AID’s and malaria. Infa red spa treatments. Hot baths. Toxin cleanses (Qestran), Positive thinking about “I am Healthy”, Imagine the feeling of being healthy”. I’ve explored Archangel Prayers..(Raphael). I’m doing better all the time. Whatever works. Good luck everybody.

  • Mariann Sawicki January 14, 2012

    Lyme is everywhere, I have been suffering for over 5 years, I am not too sure but I think I have had it for even longer and that the illness I had 15 years ago when they could not figure out what was wrong with me, was Lyme now that I know I have Lyme as the symptoms I had years ago are very similar to what I have been experiencing.  It lays dormant in the body, trust me on that and waits for the perfect opportunity to strike.  This time I had a bite, last time I do not recall one.  It also seems to target very healthy, fit and active people and comes a long with many other parasites and coinfections and yes I believe the biofilms are getting stronger, it loves to live in the sinuses or anywhere in the body where injuries have occurred.  Mariann Sawicki RN

    • Tom Fairbairn May 28, 2012

       You are correct about co-infections,  parasites and attacking you where you are weakest. I’ve spent years taking antibiotics and anti-yeast medications and it was years before I received a proper diagnosis. I read in my local paper about a Chico Doctor using the newer, more sensitive tests. This was after years of thinking I didn’t have Lyme because I’d been tested and the test was negative. The good doctor also found I had Babesia, a malaria like co-infection. I found out all a negative test means is the older insensitive tests rarely give a positive response. It doesn’t mean you don’t have Lyme. I’ve been trying everything. Organic Foods, expensive supplements promoted by a Naturalpathic  Physician and Vet. A miracle mineral supplement claimed to heal AID’s and malaria. Infa red spa treatments. Hot baths. Toxin cleanses (Qestran), Positive thinking about “I am Healthy”, Imagine the feeling of being healthy”. I’ve explored Archangel Prayers..(Raphael). I’m doing better all the time. Whatever works. Good luck everybody.

  • John January 25, 2012

    Sorry Owen – Socialized medicine does NOT pay for longterm Lyme (borrelia) treatment either. Patients in Europe who can afford to do so flock to Germany, especially, for private care. Don’t kid yourself that socialized medicine is a utopian fix all. The state does NOT care about you. The state robs you blind with taxes, then leaves you to die. I know. I’ve lived it. I’ve seen too many people suffer and die at the hands of politicans who take money in the name of health care, then ration care, research, treatments beyond imagination. It’s been hell to survive this and witness it among others.(My political hope now leans toward libertarianism.) Love and hope to all those fighting this fight.

    • valles June 16, 2012

      This is simply not true and rethuglican scaremongering.

  • John January 25, 2012

    Sorry Owen – Socialized medicine does NOT pay for longterm Lyme (borrelia) treatment either. Patients in Europe who can afford to do so flock to Germany, especially, for private care. Don’t kid yourself that socialized medicine is a utopian fix all. The state does NOT care about you. The state robs you blind with taxes, then leaves you to die. I know. I’ve lived it. I’ve seen too many people suffer and die at the hands of politicans who take money in the name of health care, then ration care, research, treatments beyond imagination. It’s been hell to survive this and witness it among others.(My political hope now leans toward libertarianism.) Love and hope to all those fighting this fight.

    • valles June 16, 2012

      This is simply not true and rethuglican scaremongering.

  • Esskay Bird February 7, 2012

    The regular med community will not address this, it is rampant in the U.S. Why are you tired, achy, mentally confused for years and years? I had Lyme for 40 years. The Cowden protocol is the only one that worked. Search for a practitioner in CA, SD or MN.

    • Veronica October 20, 2013

      The medical community is not addressing many illnesses these days. I suffer from electrohypersensitivity. They deny that that even exists–just like they did with lyme disease. These are very curious times that we live in. It makes no sense for the medical community to deny illnesses that obviously exist as they are occuring with greater frequency all over the globe. Something is quite off in the world these days. Scary!

      • Chris December 26, 2013

        Veronica, Electrohypersensitivity can be a symptom of Lyme Disease, when certain electromagnetic frequencies the spirochetes are damaged or killed by are encountered, thereby triggering Jarisch-Herxheimer (“die-off”) reactions/symptoms. Search terms: Lyme Rife for info about what some folks are doing to help themselves.

  • Esskay Bird February 7, 2012

    The regular med community will not address this, it is rampant in the U.S. Why are you tired, achy, mentally confused for years and years? I had Lyme for 40 years. The Cowden protocol is the only one that worked. Search for a practitioner in CA, SD or MN.

  • Tom Fairbairn April 9, 2012

    I have personal knowledge of Lyme Disease. The success stories are few yet I have personal knowledge of these cases. Karen had a Lyme literate physician and was diagnosed with the newer , more sensitive tests. She was given I.V. antibiotics for a year. She recovered and was working in a  Hyparbaric Facility treating Lyme and many other conditions. Berkely Bedel was healed from Lyme using Raw Colostrum (First milk) from a cow innoculated with his own Killed lyme germs. His story is well documented in the book ,”Politics In Healing”. He was a congressman from the mid-west, and is the owner of a fishing tackle company. In my case I used the information from Mr. Bedel and started drinking Raw milk. Colostrum is illegal in California, so my hope is the immunity from milk produced from cows exposed to Lyme would transfer to me. Perhaps I am over this dreadful disease. I certainly feel more healthy every day.  May this information bless those in need of help.

  • Tom Fairbairn April 9, 2012

    I have personal knowledge of Lyme Disease. The success stories are few yet I have personal knowledge of these cases. Karen had a Lyme literate physician and was diagnosed with the newer , more sensitive tests. She was given I.V. antibiotics for a year. She recovered and was working in a  Hyparbaric Facility treating Lyme and many other conditions. Berkely Bedel was healed from Lyme using Raw Colostrum (First milk) from a cow innoculated with his own Killed lyme germs. His story is well documented in the book ,”Politics In Healing”. He was a congressman from the mid-west, and is the owner of a fishing tackle company. In my case I used the information from Mr. Bedel and started drinking Raw milk. Colostrum is illegal in California, so my hope is the immunity from milk produced from cows exposed to Lyme would transfer to me. Perhaps I am over this dreadful disease. I certainly feel more healthy every day.  May this information bless those in need of help.

  • Vanessa Pruitt May 11, 2012

    People fail to think critically about this. If the disease is not chronic and can be treated within weeks of antibiotics, why are they spending money to develop vaccines, it not purely for profit? 

    I wait for the day that they say “oh, we were wrong, it can be chronic. Good thing we have a vaccine!” 

    • Vanessa Pruitt May 11, 2012

      Excuse me for not being clear. I do believe the disease is chronic,  just as I believe that toxins that are injected into the body via vaccines multiply and take over much of the body as well. There have been independent samples taken from alzheimers patients and ms patients, studied, and found that the majority of these patients (almost 100% in sampled alzheimers patients) had measles virus living in their brains.

  • Vanessa Pruitt May 11, 2012

    People fail to think critically about this. If the disease is not chronic and can be treated within weeks of antibiotics, why are they spending money to develop vaccines, it not purely for profit? 

    I wait for the day that they say “oh, we were wrong, it can be chronic. Good thing we have a vaccine!” 

    • Vanessa Pruitt May 11, 2012

      Excuse me for not being clear. I do believe the disease is chronic,  just as I believe that toxins that are injected into the body via vaccines multiply and take over much of the body as well. There have been independent samples taken from alzheimers patients and ms patients, studied, and found that the majority of these patients (almost 100% in sampled alzheimers patients) had measles virus living in their brains.

  • Anonymous May 23, 2012

    Lyme Disease is spread by ticks.  In many parts of the country the ticks are the result of the out-of-control deer population.  We have the out-of-control deer population because white-tail deer, which had all but died out by the end of the 19th century, was  re-introduced by state wildlife agencies in the early 50s. Deer were imported from areas where the herds still flourished, such a the upper peninsula of Michigan, and released to the wild throughout eastern USA.  They were released here locally at the nearby army base at Ft. Campbell, KY.

    Before the deer were imported to this area,  the local tick population thrived mainly on dogs and farm animals, but rarely attacked humans.  Old timers in these parts called them “dog ticks”.  But the deer brought with them a strain of ticks that attacks people.  Not only do they carry Lyme Disease, but also Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, another dangerous disease. Some seasons, the tick problem here is so bad that one can hardly step outside the door without picking up ticks.

    The problem with the deer is when the natural herd existed before the 20th century, there were plenty of predators such as grey wolves and bobcats to keep the population in  check. To-day, these predators are virtually non-existent, resulting in out-of-control growth.  Not only do the deer carry disease-bearing ticks; they destroy crops and vegetable gardens, and cause property damage and deaths from car collisions.

    States re-introduced the deer in order to profit from the  revenue to be gained from issuing hunting licences, and to cater to hunting interests.

    A good example of unintended consequences from tampering with Mother Nature.

  • Anonymous May 23, 2012

    Lyme Disease is spread by ticks.  In many parts of the country the ticks are the result of the out-of-control deer population.  We have the out-of-control deer population because white-tail deer, which had all but died out by the end of the 19th century, was  re-introduced by state wildlife agencies in the early 50s. Deer were imported from areas where the herds still flourished, such a the upper peninsula of Michigan, and released to the wild throughout eastern USA.  They were released here locally at the nearby army base at Ft. Campbell, KY.

    Before the deer were imported to this area,  the local tick population thrived mainly on dogs and farm animals, but rarely attacked humans.  Old timers in these parts called them “dog ticks”.  But the deer brought with them a strain of ticks that attacks people.  Not only do they carry Lyme Disease, but also Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, another dangerous disease. Some seasons, the tick problem here is so bad that one can hardly step outside the door without picking up ticks.

    The problem with the deer is when the natural herd existed before the 20th century, there were plenty of predators such as grey wolves and bobcats to keep the population in  check. To-day, these predators are virtually non-existent, resulting in out-of-control growth.  Not only do the deer carry disease-bearing ticks; they destroy crops and vegetable gardens, and cause property damage and deaths from car collisions.

    States re-introduced the deer in order to profit from the  revenue to be gained from issuing hunting licences, and to cater to hunting interests.

    A good example of unintended consequences from tampering with Mother Nature.

  • AMradiohead3885 May 23, 2012

    Lyme Disease is spread by ticks.  In many parts of the country the ticks are the result of the out-of-control deer population.  We have the out-of-control deer population because white-tail deer, which had all but died out by the end of the 19th century, was  re-introduced by state wildlife agencies in the early 50s. Deer were imported from areas where the herds still flourished, such a the upper peninsula of Michigan, and released to the wild throughout eastern USA.  They were released here locally at the nearby army base at Ft. Campbell, KY.

    Before the deer were imported to this area,  the local tick population thrived mainly on dogs and farm animals, but rarely attacked humans.  Old timers in these parts called them “dog ticks”.  But the deer brought with them a strain of ticks that attacks people.  Not only do they carry Lyme Disease, but also Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, another dangerous disease. Some seasons, the tick problem here is so bad that one can hardly step outside the door without picking up ticks.

    The problem with the deer is when the natural herd existed before the 20th century, there were plenty of predators such as grey wolves and bobcats to keep the population in  check. To-day, these predators are virtually non-existent, resulting in out-of-control growth.  Not only do the deer carry disease-bearing ticks; they destroy crops and vegetable gardens, and cause property damage and deaths from car collisions.

    States re-introduced the deer in order to profit from the  revenue to be gained from issuing hunting licences, and to cater to hunting interests.

    A good example of unintended consequences from tampering with Mother Nature.

  • footographer December 1, 2012

    Lyme Disease doesn’t come JUST from ticks. Also, fleas, mosquitoes, etc. ANY blood sucking insect. Such an awful, expensive, life-ruining coverup.

  • footographer December 1, 2012

    Lyme Disease doesn’t come JUST from ticks. Also, fleas, mosquitoes, etc. ANY blood sucking insect. Such an awful, expensive, life-ruining coverup.

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