Why Romney’s Statements About Chronic Lyme Disease Are Dangerous
Excerpted from Business Insider ( Posted: 10/01/2012)
Lyme disease has been seen all over the country, and about 10 percent of the population has had it, though this varies by state and the disease is still spreading. In Virginia, the rate is around 9 percent, and in Massachusetts it’s over 20 percent. The disease is transmitted by tick bites, leaves a characteristic red “target” rash around the bite, and causes fever, headache and fatigue in those infected. It’s diagnosed using a test for the bacteria that causes the disease, and treated with antibiotics for up to a month to rid the body of them.
Chronic Lyme disease is a proposed syndrome that sufferers think is brought on by a bacterial infection from a tick bite. Many doctors and researchers don’t believe in this syndrome, which lasts much longer than your run-of-the-mill Lyme disease infection. The CDC, NIAID, and leading medical professionals agree that the syndrome doesn’t exist.
There are others within the scientific community, and especially outside of it, that debate these experts. But now that debate has risen to the political sphere as well, as presidential candidate Mitt Romney has taken up a position on the issue: He believes that the disease exists and he wants people of Virginia to have access to a dangerous (and proven ineffective) treatment for, as he said in a political mailer.