Hudson, NH 03051Letter to the Editor, The Lancet Infectious Diseases Published May 2012
U.S. healthcare providers’ experience with Lyme and other tick-borne diseases
Meghan E. Brett, Alison F. Hinckley, Emily C. Zielinski-Gutierrez, Paul S. Mead
Division of Vector-Borne Diseases,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
Fort Collins, CO, USA
Attn: Alison F. Hinckley, Corresponding author
Dear Alison F. Hinckley,
In reference to the abstract listed in the subject line of this email; “four questions” about tick-borne diseases added to the 2009 Docstyles survey, I would like to call attention to question number two below.
1. Diseases encountered
2. Management of patients with early Lyme disease
3. Provision of tick-bite prophylaxis
4. Sources of information on tick-borne diseases
For some unknown rationale the CDC appears to be fixated on the acute or early stages of Lyme disease. Is this the only stage of the disease that the CDC believes physicians routinely encounter?
Please refer to the following study:
Comparison of Lyme Disease Prevalence and Disease Reporting in an Endemic Area
50% of respondents diagnosed with Lyme disease did not recall a tick bite, only 33% developed the bulls-eye rash and 50% remained ill after antibiotic treatment.
With that set of data most Lyme patients miss the narrow window of opportunity to treat the early stages of the disease. What questions have you asked the 2000 healthcare providers in the Docstyles Survey regarding disseminated or late stage Lyme disease?
There is absolutely no medical training whatsoever for the later stages of this disease so patients are often ping ponged though the medical community for years or decades before obtaining a late stage Lyme diagnosis usually ending in disability.
The CDC recently reported three cases of sudden cardiac death due to Lyme Carditis:
Three seemingly healthy young patients dropped dead of heart failure and no one suspected an infection until a pathologist readying heart tissue for a possible transplant noticed something wrong. It is important to recognize here that the cause of death was only identified due to the fact that the three Lyme patients were potential organ donors otherwise these cases would not have been identified or reported. None of the patients had evidence or a known history of erythema migrans (bulls-eye) rash. Our blood supply is not screened for Lyme disease so you have to ask the question, “How many seemingly healthy blood donors are carrying Lyme disease?
Late stage Lyme disease is an epidemic here in New Hampshire with a medical community practicing willful ignorance as it has become blatantly obvious that the CDC is only concerned with the acute stage of the infection while turning a blind eye to the more serious and life threatening stages of Lyme disease.
Hudson, NH 03051