It seems a shame that legislation has to be passed requiring doctors and
laboratories to tell their patients that the current state of conventional
testing for Lyme disease is worse than inadequate.
The Lyme disease laboratory test requirements bill passed in Maryland on 05-10-16
requires labs and doctors to give patients a written statement which states
that a negative test result does not necessarily mean that they do not
have the disease.
News report can be viewed here:
I will be very interested to read what the Infectious Diseases Society
of America has to say about this legislation.
Lyme disease (infection with
Borrelia burgdorferi) is the most common tick-borne disease of the twenty-first century. Controversy
exists over both diagnosis and treatment of this illness. It is sometimes
difficult to diagnose with any medical certainty through laboratory testing,
because of a multitude of reasons.
There is significant variability in clinical presentation. Since the organism
can affect any organ of the body, symptoms may range from a skin rash
alone to significant flu-like symptoms, to debilitating arthritis, or
carditis, or encephalitis.
Test strategies are markedly different among the different laboratories,
resulting in different results when the same blood is tested by different
laboratories.[i] Certain bands on a Western blot test may be more frequently positive in
certain species of the organism.[ii]
To complicate the picture, other tick-borne and even viral or mycoplasma
diseases may be present concurrently. These are commonly known as “co-infection”
and may include infection with Babesia, Bartonella, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma,
in addition to a multitude of species of the Borrelia family. Infections
with Coxiella burnetii are seen occasionally. Concurrent infections with
mycoplasma, viruses, and other microorganisms are also seen. The symptoms
are similar for most of the tick-borne diseases, so it may not be possible
to distinguish one from another by clinical presentation. Blood transfusions
and sexual intercourse may also be vehicles of transmission of any of
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