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Top 5 Contagion® News Articles for the Week of May 21, 2017

MAY 27, 2017 | CONTAGION EDITORIAL STAFF

#1: Is the Medical Community Behind the Times When It Comes to Treating Lyme? 

Lyme Disease Association President, Pat Smith, takes on the current major problems surrounding Lyme disease, in this commentary. Smith details how the ticks that cause Lyme disease have been found on 50% of continental US counties, and 19 human tick-borne diseases have been identified in the United States.
 
Smith goes on the tease out the problems healthcare professionals and patients face concerning Lyme disease today, including a continued “reliance upon dogma, promoting beliefs people are expected to accept without questioning or doubting.” She feels that practitioners continue to try and approach Lyme disease with a “cookbook” approach and that the disease is meant to be diagnosed clinically, with testing to be used as an “adjunct.”
 
The currently available Lyme clinical practice guidelines are outdated, says Smith, and not posted on the National Guidelines Clearinghouse (NGC). Their absence may actually help patients who need long-term antibiotic therapy, as this is not recommended in the current guidelines.
 
Other issues raised by Smith include the fact that not test exists for active Lyme disease infection. “Furthermore, the Lyme ELISA used for screening may not react with serum antibodies if at least a month has not elapsed between the tick bite and the test. If antibodies do develop, research in the Journal of the American Medical Association7 has shown that the antigen and the antibody produced by the patient can form a complex. Current commercial tests can only test for a free antibody, not an antibody in a complex, so patients can remain undiagnosed despite having produced antibodies.”
 
As more information continues to come to light about Borrelia burgdorferi, the main cause of Lyme disease in the United States, Smith is imploring the medical community to “avail itself on those scientific findings,” and “support further research on why some individuals remain sick.”
 
Read Pat Smith’s full commentary here.
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