Ticked off: As Lyme disease spreads, so does dispute on how to treat it
Here is a very comprehensive overview of the Lyme threat occurring in Wisconsin today. The author Shawn Doherty (The Cap Times) paints an excellent picture of the Lyme threat; the issues patients are contending with and the ongoing political debate:
Lyme disease is spreading rapidly across the state, and so are confusion and controversy over what to do about it. Haugen’s story is all too familiar to people afflicted with Lyme, who say they are caught in a maddening trap: Doctors fail to diagnose the disease quickly or treat it effectively, and then when they become seriously ill as a result, they refuse to recognize or treat their chronic symptoms. “Lymies,” as they call themselves, are joining online support groups and lobbying politically. They say they are pawns in the middle of one of the nastiest medical controversies to come along in a while. It’s a complex issue, rife with medical infighting and dueling research studies and conspiracy charges. But what it boils down to is a dispute between a handful of “Lyme literate” doctors who treat patients like Haugen for what they see as a chronic form of the disease, and many mainstream doctors, who say no such thing exists and that the patients’ suffering is likely caused by other conditions. Guidelines issued by the Infectious Diseases Society of America, a Washington, D.C.-area association that is the most vocal skeptic of the existence of chronic Lyme, assert that the disease can be eradicated with a simple seven- to 28-day course of antibiotics.