Is Lyme Disease the New HIV?
The USA is currently in the throes of a swiftly moving Lyme disease epidemic. Hundreds of cases are contracted daily, and the tick population, the primary insect carrier, is multiplying in proportions beyond historically normal. Anxiety over potential infection is rising, nationwide.
Climate changes over the past decade have yielded milder temperatures in the USA’s higher latitudes, enabling ticks to now “winter over” in northern New England, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Canada and mountainous elevations of the Alleghenies, Sierras, Cascades and Rocky Mountains. Additionally, migratory bird patterns have introduced Lyme disease to southern regions such as Florida, Texas, even as far distant as Uruguay and Scandinavia. Lyme disease is found in eighty-nine countries of the world!
Lyme disease, transmitted by a bite from a tick, is a bacterial infection caused by an organism know as borrelia burgdorferi, or one of the variant tick-borne co-infections caused by parasites, bacteria and micoplasmas. Borrelia, the primary, is a spirochete or corkscrew bacteria, which is in the same family as syphilis, yet is considered to be stronger and more virulent. Like syphilis, Lyme initially starts out with seemingly mild symptomatology, but if untreated, can cause devastating effects to the central nervous system, heart, kidneys, skeletal and immune system with sometimes permanent repercussions.The CDC by their own admission, estimates 300,000 cases of Lyme are contracted in the USA annually and a mere 10% are properly diagnosed, leaving over 250,000 annually with misdiagnoses, such as fibromyalgia, Lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, MS, migraines, learning disabilities, bi-polar disorders, Parkinson’s, heart arrhythmia’s and more, when the Lyme organisms are the true culprits. Reasoning suggests well over 2,000,000 people in the USA are afflicted with the chronic form of Lyme. Immediate attention, funding, research and education needs to be stepped up to address the misunderstandings and ravages of this exploding epidemic, which has surpassed HIV in its growth rate, as the number one infectious illness in the USA.
The USA eastern seaboard, Ohio River Valley, Northern California and the Pacific Northwest are under fierce assault. Individuals and pets come into proximity with this insect. Long Island has long been in the crosshairs of the epidemic, and most folks are savvy about the risks. However, we can never be slack about caution with this illness.
The standard lab test most local and regional facilities run for Lyme disease has over a 60% error rate. They are very inaccurate, giving many false negatives, leaving people sick when they need treatment. A LLMD (Lyme literate) physician will use one of the three USA Lyme specialty labs, with more attuned testing. These newer labs, Igenex, SUNY Stonybrook and Clongen are helping to turn thousands of lives around.
The chronic form of Lyme disease may require prolonged treatment protocols. Some may effectively respond to a rotational regime of antibiotics, antimalarials, and anti-parasitic pharmaceuticals, administered by a Lyme literate physician. The best recovery outcomes for chronic Lyme, however, seems to be obtained by an Integrative Medicine approach. Rebuilding the massive depletions to various systems of the body, is just as critical as killing off the entrenched microbial infections.
A certified clinical nutritionist, licensed naturopath, licensed acupuncturist, or certified classical Homeopath versed in Lyme, may be excellent resources to assist in recovery. It appears this is the epidemic of our era, asking us to marry the two hands of healthcare –the diagnostics and pharmaceutical weaponry of conventional medicine, with the supportive therapeutics of complementary alternative medicine. Two hands working together are better than one. Without addressing the serious depletions to the immune, nervous, and endocrine systems, recovery from chronic Lyme appears to be partial, at best, in many longer-term cases.
Please pay attention and take care of yourself and loved ones. This illness should not be glossed over. Nationwide Lyme disease support groups and associations can be of assistance. With the mild weather upon us now, daily tick checks and preventative measures of limb covers with long pants and shirtsleeves in the woods and tall grasses, tick repellent on our pets and us, and heads up to possible early infection symptoms are essential.