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NE docs wise to lyme -- but SE docs say no Lyme

The more I learn about Lyme, the more mysterious it seems. And not the disease so much, but the approach that’s taken by our medical professionals. It is a disease with layers of complexity. You can be tested for leukemia, for example, and the results are either positive or negative. Not so with Lyme.

Awareness of Lyme and early
treatment is increasing in the Northeastern US. However, I’ve seen anecdotal evidence that patients also get Lyme disease in the Southeast. On the LDRD Facebook page, in a recent post about Lyme in Georgia, several people living in a smattering of southern states -- Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia -- chimed in to affirm that they’d been diagnosed with Lyme and had caught it at home.

In a casual conversation with an epidemiology professor and veterinarian from Georgia, I learned just last week that there is no Lyme in our region. He agreed that there are other egregious diseases caused by ticks in the SE, but “we don’t have Lyme.”

My dentist here in NC told me the same thing. I imagine most
doctors in the area would concur.

All of this makes me curious. Consider this. When we as Lyme patients approach our healing from all the fundamental dimensions that we can, from body, mind, spirit and shadow, we’re taking more perspectives than most of our doctors are (there are exceptions). Our healing is more whole, and more effective in my experience, when we work on all of these dimensions.

When the CDC declares that there is no Lyme disease in a certain region, their evidence is not, I would argue, taking other perspectives. It is overlooking some equally fundamental dimensions. Cases of Lyme that are diagnosed in the SE, for example. Can we really just ignore that? Pass it off as an anomaly?

Doctors base their conclusions on empirical, scientific evidence. And correctly so. That’s the way it should be. But when there is anecdotal evidence, isn’t that also proof? Someone is surely diagnosing some cases of Lyme in the Southeast. What is going on there? This just doesn’t square with the rational conclusiveness associated with medical people. Could it be that doctors and the CDC are simply too busy, and the catalogue of diseases is too full, to include another?

And yet, the IDSA does seem to be changing. Ever so slowly. At least, in the Northeast they’re changing their approach to treatment and diagnosis in the early stage of Lyme. CBS news in Pittsburgh ran this story recently:
Doctors Change Treatment Recommendations for Lyme Disease.

As this news clip points out, doctors in the NE region are becoming aware of the critical need for early Lyme disease treatment. Patients presenting with a bull’s eye rash, who have caught it immediately, are likely to get antibiotics right away. They have a good chance of beating Lyme in its early stages.

This is good news, because of course the not-so-good news is that Lyme cases are rising alarmingly quickly in Pittsburgh. This year 150 cases have been recorded, up from 10 or 15 last year. 70% of the
ticks in the region are believed to carry the bacteria which causes the Lyme infection.

But apparently they stop at the border. So in the Southeast, we’re not dealing with Lyme. Except of course, anecdotally.

Interesting also to note that Romney is seeking to align his campaign with ILADS. Obama has also acknowledged the disease and its enormous financial implications. Awareness in Washington, DC is steadily but slowly increasing.

Lyme is a political issue, and not simply because of the definition of politics: many (poly) blood-sucking critters (ticks).


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