Lyme Facts

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  1. Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete, which is a spiral shaped bacteria.  The kind of spirochete that causes Lyme disease is known as Borrelia.  There are three types of Borrelia that are identified as the cause of Lyme borreliosis.  The organism that is the most common in the United States is known as Borrelia burgdorfi (Bb).
  2. Borrelia burgdorferi is the most complex bacterium known to science.  There are 5 subspecies of Bb, more than 100 strains in the US, and 300 stains worldwide. Bb takes three different forms to evade the immune system and antibiotics.  The three forms are the spiral shape (spirochete) that has a cell wall, the cell-wall-deficient form, and the cyst form.
  3. Lyme disease is the most prevalent vector-borne disease in the United States, and it widespread all around the world.  Ticks have no limits and do not discriminate, affecting people in every state in the US.
  4. Lyme disease is known as “The Great Imitator.” It can affect any organ in the body, and cause over 150 symptoms. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Meningitis, MS, ALS, Alzheimer’s, Autism, ADHD, Parkinson’s, and Dystonia should all be considered as possible Lyme.  It can mirror any neurological, cardiac, psychiatric, and arthritic multisystem disorder.
  5. Deer ticks are not the only species that transmit Lyme disease.  Live spirochetes have been found in fleas, mites, lice, mosquitoes, and biting flies.  Deer, birds, mammals, and rodents can all be carriers of Lyme.   Studies on animals indicate that transmissions can take place in under 24 hours.  However, it is believed that after infecting another host, if the tick is carrying the bacteria in its salivary gland as opposed to its mid-gut, bacteria could be directly transmitted.
  6. Due to the lack of sufficient testing Lyme is extremely under-reported.  The CDC estimates 300,000 new cases each year.  Less than 50 to 75% people with Lyme recall a tick bite, or develop a rash.  While the bull’s eye rash is associated with Lyme, uncharacteristic forms of a rash are much more common.
  7. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) implemented surveillance criteria for Lyme disease.  However as sited on their website, it was “never intended to be used as diagnostic criteria, nor were they meant to define the entire scope of Lyme disease.”
  8. Tests for Lyme disease are unreliable.  IGeneX Lab in Palo Alto, California is the most highly recommended lab in detecting tick borne diseases.  Fry Lab in Scottsdale, Arizona is also cutting edge for testing and identifying co-infections.  Even if you do not get a positive result back from your blood work, it does not mean that you do not have Lyme disease.  That is why Lyme is a clinical diagnosis.
  9. The Elisa test misses at least 35% of positive Lyme cases.  On the Western Blot analysis 30-50% show up seronegative for patients with acute culture-proven Lyme disease.  The antibody titers decline the longer the patient is sick, contributing to the decline in accuracy for the chronically ill patient. For “epidemiological purposes” the CDC removed from the Western Blot test, the analysis of bands 31 and 34.  However, while these bands are not considered in commercial Lyme tests, they are extremely specific of borrelia burgdorferi exposure. 
  10. Sometimes a bigger issue than Lyme, is the co-infections.  Bartonella, Babesia, and Erlichiosis, are the more common co-infections.  Treatment becomes more complicated when co-infections are involved.  If co-infections are left untreated, it will escalade into a serious health threat, and the patient will become increasingly ill.
  11. Lyme disease is almost eight times more commonly reported than West Nile Virus in the U.S., yet the government spends 18 times more money on each case of WNV.
  12. According to a study published in 1993 in Contingencies, an actuarial trade
    publication, the cost to society for Lyme disease was about one billion dollars per year. Cases have doubled since then, so today’s costs are probably $2 billion or more annually. The average treatment and diagnosis and lost wages related to Lyme disease was $61,688 per year per patient.
  13. If you have cancer, doctors tell you about the benefits and risks of different
    treatment options and let you choose. This is called “informed consent.” People with Lyme should also be able to choose the treatment they prefer, whether short or long term, oral or intravenous, one medicine or many. Yet doctors are being prosecuted by their state medical boards for treating Lyme patients with aggressive, long-term
    treatments, and insurance companies are refusing to pay for what the doctor orders, in
    spite of the fact that studies consistently show high failure rates, ranging from 26% to 50%, using short term antibiotic approaches.
  14. Ticks that have been attached only a short time CAN transmit disease. In one study,
    11% of mice became infected after only two days of tick attachment (less than
    48hrs.) and one report documents infection after less than six hours of attachment.
    Almost 100% of infected nymphal ticks attached until they fall off will transmit the
    infection.
  15. According to a CALDA survey, the misapplication of CDC surveillance criteria (either
    ELISA or WB) for diagnostic purposes resulted in a delay in diagnosis of one year or
    more for 49% of responding patients. The average period of delay in diagnosis was
    almost 4½ years. A full 81% of patients had physicians fail to diagnose their Lyme disease because of misapplication of the CDC surveillance criteria for diagnosis. Many of these patients incurred treatment delays as well.

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