…“There is general agreement that most cases are mild to moderate if treated promptly. But therein lies a problem. As of yet, there are no reliable tests for Lyme disease.
Fewer than 50% of patients diagnosed with Lyme ever find the offending tick, and the telltale bull’s eye rash associated with the disease is only seen in 10-40% of the cases. Available blood tests yield a high percentage of false negatives due to the crafty nature of the spirochete, which is able to change into a dormant, undetectable cyst form, or hide within white blood cells, the very cells that are supposed to destroy invading bacteria.
Further, new research shows that the bacteria are able to exchange genetic material with one another and change the outer proteins of its cell walls, allowing the organisms to mutate and effectively hide from targeted human antibodies. [Read Bacteria Talk] The situation is complicated by the fact that there are over 300 strains of the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, and the test kits used by most labs don’t detect all of these varieties. This results in thousands of false negative Lyme tests, delaying the treatment of many infected patients.
Lyme disease has been called the new “great imitator” because of its ability to mimic other diseases. Patients are routinely told they might have multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease, fibromyalgia, systemic Lupus, Alzheimer’s, chronic fatigue syndrome or rheumatoid arthritis. According to one physician, there is not one diagnostic feature of Lyme disease, except for the rash, that is different from any of these other conditions….”
Go to Under Our Skin to watch the informatonal trailer. It may be the fastest growing infectious disease in the United States, yet each year, thousands are misdiagnosed. In this upcoming documentary feature (in 2007), we investigate the shocking human, scientific, and political dimensions of Lyme disease.
Go to Under Our Skin: The Untold Story of Lyme Disease for more information.