Lyme Truths & Lies Come To Louisiana*)!!

Medical topics with questions, information and discussion related to Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.
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Lyme Truths & Lies Come To Louisiana*)!!

Post by CaliforniaLyme » Tue 30 Oct 2007 15:00

GREAT title. GREAT article!!!
Contact Nicholas Persac at
Louisiana State University- the Daily Reveille ONLINE

Doctors often misdiagnose Lyme disease
Student one of thousands infected by tick bite

Nicholas Persac
Issue date: 10/30/07 Section: News /Media Credit: John Sims PHOTO: Adisyn Watson, international studies freshman, was diagnosed with Lyme disease after months of symptoms.

Pictures from Tiger Stadium on game days and wall posts from friends fill Adisyn Watson's profile. But what sets the international studies freshman's profile apart from thousands of other University students can be read in a note Watson posted to her profile Aug. 2.

"Today has been just about the most exciting day of my whole summer," Watson writes. "[My doctor] clinically diagnosed me with Lyme disease. It's one of the best feelings just to be diagnosed."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report about 20,000 cases of Lyme disease annually within the United States. According to the CDC, Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium and is transmitted to humans from the bite of infected ticks. The most common symptom doctors look for is a bull's-eye rash. But less than 50 percent of those diagnosed with Lyme ever recall a tick bite, and only 30 percent recall a rash. Symptoms of Lyme can include fever, headaches and fatigue, among other things.

Watson said she believes she contracted the disease while camping in 2006. When she returned home, she noticed a slight tremor in her hand. The tremor quickly spread to convulsions in her whole body, prompting her to alert her parents.

"I got tested for pretty much everything," Watson said. "I went to a million doctors, and they told me it was stress and anxiety. They said I looked healthy, so I must be healthy."

Watson takes 37 pills every day - a combination of antibiotics and supplements - to help suppress her symptoms, which include fatigue, nausea, shakes, cramps, swollen glands and "mind block."

"Standing up in the shower was hard, and using my hands was just impossible," Watson said. "Then I started having the memory problems. I forget words a lot, because it's gotten into my brain."

The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society of America believes long-term antibiotic treatments can be beneficial to patients with Lyme, because they believe the disease can still be present - a type of "chronic Lyme disease" - after antibiotic treatment, said Dr. Jonathan Forester, a member of ILADS who treats patients with Lyme.

The Infectious Diseases Society of America, however, believes that after treatment, the symptoms are no longer being caused by Lyme, and their guidelines concerning Lyme do not support a separate diagnosis of "chronic Lyme disease."

In a January 2007 letter to all U.S. congressmen, IDSA said symptoms described by patients diagnosed with "chronic" Lyme disease are nonspecific and associated with other conditions. The letter also encourages those diagnosed as such to seek a second opinion for a correct diagnosis with corresponding treatment.

Dr. Brobson Lutz, IDSA member, said he thinks Lyme disease is over diagnosed. He said many people confuse Lyme with other ailments because of similar symptoms.

Lutz said some controversy surrounds the methods of testing used to diagnose Lyme disease.

According to the CDC, there are several forms of laboratory testing for Lyme disease, but some "have not be adequately validated." The CDC recommends a two-step testing process to determine if Lyme disease is present in a patient's blood sample.

The first test is more sensitive and will test positive for everyone with Lyme and some who do not actually have the disease. The second test will typically be positive for Lyme only if the person is actually infected.

Watson has been unable to confirm whether she has Lyme disease based on her blood test but was clinically diagnosed with the disease. She said she is visiting a doctor to confirm the clinical diagnosis later this month and is convinced she has chronic Lyme disease.

Forester said students who participate in outdoor activities should take extra precautions - such as using insect repellent - to prevent ticks from biting them.

In 2005, three cases of contacting Lyme in Louisiana were reported to the CDC. In 2006, only one case was reported in the state.

Watson said Lyme disease has complicated her college experience. She said she has faced difficulties studying and focusing because of "brain fog" and being tired.

"Being social and meeting new people is also difficult because I'm tired a lot of the time," Watson said. "If I'm feeling even slightly bad, I can't do loud settings or lots of people. And needing to sleep about 10 to 12 hours a day doesn't really fit into the typical college life."

One way Watson has found friends with whom she can relate is the same way thousands of other college-aged students connect with their friends - Facebook. She said she even found the doctor she will be seeing later this month through the Facebook group.

"It's been really encouraging to be able to talk to people [through Facebook] who understand what it feels like," Watson said.

Contact Nicholas Persac at

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Re: Lyme Truths & Lies Come To Louisiana*)!!

Post by Boomerang » Sat 3 Nov 2007 2:53

I am glad that poor girl is getting the help she needs.

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