RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA— Borrelia burgdorferi is a sneak. And a smart one at that. Also known as Bb, it’s the organism that’s carried by certain ticks and causes Lyme disease, an infection that affects an estimated 200,000 people a year in the United States. Depending who you talk to, the Lyme bacterium causes a short-term infection that can be cured with a month’s worth of antibiotics or—as a growing number researchers, doctors, and patients say—it’s a serious pathogen that invades different organs, hides from detection by lab tests, and causes chronic pain and symptoms that lasts for months or years. Controversy over guidelines governing how doctors diagnose and treat the disease has been brewing for years, but yesterday the arguments were aired in public as 18 doctors, scientists, and patients testified at a hearing before a new Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) Lyme disease review panel in Washington, DC.
THE DETAILS: The hearing was a result of an antitrust settlement brought by the Connecticut attorney general to address alleged flaws (including financial conflicts of interest) regarding IDSA’s 2006 Lyme disease guidelines, which are recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The nine-hour hearing featured prominent physicians who stand by the IDSA guidelines, those who treat more aggressively and prescribe longer and stronger doses of antibiotics (as recommended by the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, ILADS), and independent Lyme disease researchers.
Published on: July 30, 2009
Updated on: March 11, 2010