Lyme disease, potential plague of the 21st century detection problems resolved by imaging with the Bradford Variable Projection High Resolution Microscope
The Townsend Letter from 2005 highlights that the CDC and the medical community are very cognizant and concerned about the Lyme disease issue. It also shows how easily it can be misdiagnosed for other ailments (e.g., Chronic Fatigue).
As much as I appreciate the sincerity and candor of the letter, I am concerned that the general public is not aware of how serious a problem we have. This letter should shed some light for those persons still skeptical.
In the mid-14 century, Europe was swept by a horrific catastrophe, known variously as the Bubonic Plague, the Black Death or simply the Pestilence. It is estimated to have killed in excess of 20 million people, a third of the population of Europe at that time. It is believed that half of the inhabitants of Paris died as a result of the plague. Today we have learned to control the microorganism that caused the great plagues of Europe and elsewhere but now we are beset by another “plague” that is not as well known as that of 14th century Europe. The disease was first recognized in the United States in the small New England town of Lyme, Connecticut, and has since taken that name. Lyme disease was first studied in 1975 by Dr. Allen Steere, following a mysterious outbreak in that town of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. The relationship between rheumatoid arthritis and a disease of another name may not at first be apparent but, as discussed more fully below, Lyme disease has the ability to mimic many other diseases, making diagnosis extremely difficult.
In 1982 the agent responsible for Lyme disease was discovered by Dr. Willy Burgdorfer, isolating spirochetes belonging to the genus Borrelia from the mid-guts of ticks infecting deer, other wild animals and dogs. Spirochetes are spiral-shaped bacteria of very early origin in the evolutionary scheme. The causative organism was named Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb), after its discoverer. Since then, the number of reports of Lyme disease have increased so dramatically that today, Lyme disease is the most prevalent tick-borne illness in the United States.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, reports that “there is considerable under-reporting” of Lyme disease, maintaining that the actual infection rate may be 1.8 million, 10 times higher than the 180,000 cases currently reported. Dan Kinderleher, MD, an expert on Lyme disease, stated that the number of cases may be 100 times higher (18 million in the United States alone) than reported by the CDC. It is estimated that Lyme disease may be a contributing factor in more than 50% of chronically ill people. (1)
According to an informal study conducted by the American Lyme Disease Alliance (ALDA), most patients diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) are actually suffering from Lyme disease. In a study of 31 patients diagnosed with CFS, 28 patients, or 90.3%, were found to be ill as a result of Lyme disease. (1)