NEW GUIDELINES TO FIGHT LYME DISEASE
PO Box 341461
Bethesda, Maryland 20827-1461
Jack Houseman, Medallion Media, 925-672-3777,
Christi O'Connor, Medallion Media, 415-883-2491,
November 10, 2002
NEW GUIDELINES TO FIGHT LYME DISEASE
ILADS WARNS: LOOK BEYOND THE RASH AND THE BITE
-- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says a red bull's eye
rash is a primary indication of Lyme. Less than half of all Lyme patients
develop this condition.
-- Most physicians ask if a patient has been bitten by a tick. However, less
than half of all Lyme sufferers recall a tick bite.
-- The CDC says a diagnosis of Lyme is much more likely in the Northeast, upper
Midwest and Northern California. But it is actually present in almost every
state. A significant number of cases have been reported in Florida, Texas,
Missouri, Virginia and West Virginia, the Carolinas, and Southern California.
-- Lyme disease is also picked up by the traveler -- especially by those who
like to garden, hike, hunt or fish. Place of residence is not a valid criteria
ILADS SAYS: CONSIDER A BROADER RANGE OF SYMPTOMS
It notes that:
-- Lyme is a complex disease, and the longer it goes undetected, the more
likely a patient is to develop a wide range of debilitating and disabling
ILADS LYME GUIDELINES -- Page Two
-- Physicians need to interview the patient carefully and look for the
following symptoms that may appear in clusters:
Arthritis or joint pain
Numbness, tingling of the face or extremities
Sudden weight change
Irregular heart beat
Night sweats, low-grade fevers
Frequent urinary tract infections
Impaired coordination or motor skills
Irritability and mood swings
Depression and disorientation.
-- The longer it takes to identify Lyme, the more severe the symptoms.
"The medical team must make great efforts to listen carefully to the patient
and not be too quick to dismiss seemingly bizarre or illogical complaints,"
says ILADS' Joseph Burrascano, M.D., an East Hampton internist and a pioneer in
the treatment of chronic Lyme disease.
ILADS SAYS: USE A COMPREHENSIVE BATTERY OF TESTS
-- For early detection of Lyme, the CDC recommends the ELISA (enzyme-linked
immuno-hostinghostinghostingay) test which screens for Lyme antibodies, followed by the Western
Blot test which identifies more specific Lyme antibodies.
However, the ELISA test has a low accuracy rate (it's less than 60 per cent
sensitive), and it also fails to pick up chronic or long-standing cases of
ILADS LYME GUIDELINES -- Page Three
-- ILADS recommends a wider range of tests for Lyme, including a PCR
(polymerase chain reaction) test that targets Lyme DNA, and a test to identify
-- ILADS also recommends using labs that specialize in Lyme testing, such as
IGeneX in Palo Alto, California and MDL in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey.
-- Lyme is caused by a bacteria called Borrelia Burgdorferi. Yet co-infections
by parasites and bacteria -- such as Babesia, Erlichia and Bartonella -- are
also common. ILADS says it's important to test for these as well.
-- Finally, tests are only meant to augment a physician's judgment. If careful
review of the patient's symptoms points to Lyme disease, ILADS says doctors
should begin treatment.
ILADS ADVOCATES AGGRESSIVE, LONG-TERM ANTIBIOTIC THERAPY
-- The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) recommends two to three
weeks of oral antibiotics for early-stage Lyme disease.
However, Lyme can lodge in the white cells and remain in the body tissues after
this time period. ILADS recommends a course of antibiotics for six to eight
-- The IDSA does not recognize chronic Lyme disease as a separate enhostinghostinghostingy and
does not recommend prolonged treatment.
-- For chronic or late-stage Lyme, ILADS recommends several months of
antibiotic therapy. This treatment may also need to be given intravenously.
Founded in 1999, The International Lyme and hostinghostinghostingociated Diseases Society is an
interdisciplinary group of physicians and researchers dedicated to improving
the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease. Members include neurologists,
rheumatologists, internists, family prachostinghostinghostingioners, pediatricians,
immunologists, ophthalmologists, dentists, board certified Infectious disease
specialists, and psychiatrists.
For more information about the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease, go to