Lyme Disease: Public Health Controversy
Bransfield said progress in treating Lyme disease is obstructed by the NIH and CDC for the “narrow, rigid and restrictive disease definitions.” He blasted the CDC’s recommended ELISA test for Lyme, calling it highly unreliable and prone to false negatives. No representatives from the NIH or CDC attended the hearing.
Excerpted from ConnectionNewspapers.com ( Posted: 04/26/2011 )
Chronic Lyme disease is real, pervasive and overwhelmingly under-diagnosed. It is also a public health failure because the accepted medical tests and treatment for the tick-borne illness are flawed.
Several medical professionals delivered that message loud and clear to Gov. Robert McDonnell’s (R) Lyme Disease Task Force at its final hearing Monday, April 25, at the Fairfax County Government Center.
“Even in Fairfax County, you have doctors who say we don’t have chronic Lyme disease here. It’s shocking, actually,” said Michael Farris, who heads up the task force. A well-known constitutional lawyer, Farris is the founder of the Home School League Defense Association and Chancellor of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville. He said his wife and seven of his 10 children have been diagnosed with Lyme disease.
“There is too much denial by doctors that chronic Lyme disease exists, and it is dramatically misdiagnosed,” Farris said.
Lyme disease is a tick-borne bacterial infection found mostly in the northeastern United States and is considered endemic in the Northern Virginia area. It is usually successfully treated with three to four weeks of antibiotic therapy, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The length of antibiotic treatment, and even the term “chronic” Lyme disease, is a controversy among many Lyme disease patients and the medical establishment.
“In patients who have non-specific symptoms after being treated for Lyme disease, and no evidence of active infection, studies have shown that more antibiotic therapy is not helpful and can be dangerous,” according to a statement from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, one of 27 institutes and centers of the NIH. The NIH, like the CDC, is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
About 50 residents attended Monday’s hearing, which gave the eight-member panel an opportunity to hear medical and health professionals propose recommendations that would be part of the panel’s comprehensive report to the governor.
For the complete article: http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/article.asp?article=350257&paper=61&cat=104