Valley View: Lyme is most misunderstood disease since AIDS
Excerpted from PoughkeepsieJournal.COM: (11/09/2014)
With the possible exception of HIV/AIDS, no infectious disease in recent history has been as misunderstood, maligned or politicized as Lyme disease.
After more than two decades of controversy and government neglect, Lyme disease has become too large an issue to ignore any longer. A year ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that only 1 in 10 cases of Lyme disease were properly reported to public health agencies and increased the likely incidence to more than 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease in the U.S. per year. As a highly endemic state, a significant proportion of those cases are in New York.
For perspective, cases of HIV/AIDS number more than 50,000 annually, meaning that for every person diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, there are 6 people with Lyme disease. Ironically, the early years of AIDS were fraught with similar controversy that resulted in the epidemic spiraling out of control, while scientists fought over every aspect of the disease, from admitting that AIDS was actually an infectious disease, to who would get the naming rights for HIV.
There are thousands of people in New York suffering from Lyme disease, a bacterial infection that a few weeks of antibiotics may not cure. As with HIV/AIDS, both the existence of disabling symptoms and the possible cause are under dispute.