Legal Mandates To Cover Unproven Treatments
The state of Connecticut, meanwhile, enacted a law on June 18, 2009, “to allow a licensed physician to prescribe, administer or dispense long-term antibiotics for a therapeutic purpose to a patient clinically diagnosed with Lyme disease.” The states of Rhode Island, California, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Maine, and Iowa have similar laws.
Massachusetts and Rhode Island have laws mandating insurance coverage for long-term antibiotic therapy for Lyme disease when deemed medically necessary by a physician. In 1999 Connecticut had passed a similar, though somewhat more restrictive law.
Inaccurate Results And False Negative Due To Lower Test Sensitivity
Most non-Lyme literate doctors and labs stick to the two-step test for Lyme that is recommended by the CDC and approved by the FDA. These tests include the ELISA followed by a Western blot test. Both tests are only designed to detect B. burgdorferi and no other Lyme-related bacteria or co-infection.
One of the problems with testing for Lyme disease is that the ELISA tests are not always accurate. False negatives may occur. For example, if you get tested too soon after getting bitten and infected, its possible that your body hasnt developed enough antibodies for the test to detect the bacteria. If your ELISA test is negative, many labs will not move onto the Western blot. Many doctors dont retest, even if your symptoms persist and are in correspondence with the symptoms of Lyme disease. Research has shown that the two-step testing of ELISA and Western blot may miss up to 60 percent of Lyme cases.
The ELISA and Western blot are also not accurate when it comes to chronic Lyme disease, and are more helpful when it comes to acute Lyme disease.
Original Manifestations Of Lyme Disease
Demographic data and initial clinical picture and treatment of the patient groups.
The 25 patients in the erythema migrans group, by definition, had erythema migrans without objective manifestations of acute neuroborreliosis or Lyme arthritis. In addition to this skin lesion, they sometimes had signs and symptoms suggestive of hematogenous dissemination of the spirochete, including secondary annular skin lesions, migratory arthralgias, or transient headache and neck pain . Nineteen of 25 patients in this group were treated for erythema migrans with 1014-day courses of oral penicillin, tetracycline, or erythromycin. Thus, although hematogenous dissemination of the spirochete was probably common in this group, they did not develop acute neuroborreliosis, carditis, or subsequent Lyme arthritis.
By definition, the 28 patients in the Lyme arthritis group had intermittent or chronic arthritis, usually in one or a few joints, especially the knee. Early in the infection, these patients sometimes had signs and symptoms of dissemination of the spirochete, including secondary annular skin lesions or transient headache and neck stiffness . These 28 patients did not receive antibiotic therapy for early Lyme disease, and only 6 were treated with oral or parenteral penicillin when they had active arthritis. Thus, most patients in this group had active B. burgdorferi infection for at least several years, but none had objective findings of acute neuroborreliosis.
Also Check: What Type Of Doctor Treats Lyme Disease
Key Points About Lyme Disease In Children
- Lyme disease is an infection caused by bacteria. The bacteria are usually spread by tick bites.
- Lyme disease is a year-round problem, but it peaks during the spring and summer months.
- Ticks live in wooded areas, low-growing grasslands, and yards. A child is more at risk outdoors in these places, or around a pet who has been in these areas.
- One of the most common symptoms is a ring-shaped rash that looks like a bulls-eye. It may be pink in the center and have a darker red ring around it. The rash does not occur in every case of Lyme.
- Lyme is usually not hard for a healthcare provider to diagnose. Diagnosis is usually based on symptoms and a history of a tick bite. Your child may have blood tests to help diagnose Lyme.
- Lyme disease is usually treated with antibiotic medicine. Early stage Lyme disease is more easily cured with antibiotics than late-stage disease. Repeated courses of antibiotics for post-Lyme disease syndrome don’t help.
- There is no vaccine for Lyme disease. But you can help prevent Lyme disease by protecting your child from tick bites.
What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In A Child
Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each child. They usually appear within 3 to 30 days after a tick bite. Lyme disease has early and late-stage symptoms. Early stage Lyme disease is more easily cured with antibiotics than late-stage disease. Most cases of late-stage disease occur when early stage disease is not treated.
One of the most common symptoms is a ring-shaped rash that looks like a bull’s-eye. It may be pink in the center and have a darker red ring around it. The rash does not occur in every case of Lyme. If it does occur, the rash may:
- Appear several days after infection
- Last up to several weeks
- Be very small or very large, up to 12 inches across
- Look like other skin problems such as hives, eczema, sunburn, poison ivy, or flea bites
- Itch or feel hot, or not be felt at all
- Go away and come back several weeks later
Several days or weeks after a bite from an infected tick, your child may have multiple ring-shaped rashes on the body and flu-like symptoms such as:
Months to a few years after a bite, these symptoms may occur:
- Inflammation of the joints
- Nervous system symptoms such as numbness in the arms and legs, tingling and pain, and trouble with speech, memory, and concentration
The symptoms of Lyme disease can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees a healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
You May Like: Which Ticks Give You Lyme Disease
What Can I Expect Long Term If My Child Has Lyme Disease
If Lyme disease is caught and treated early, most children will make a full recovery. Some children with Lyme disease go on to experience what’s called a post-infectious syndrome with symptoms that may include feeling fatigue, joint aches and pains, headaches, difficulty sleeping, and problems concentrating. Since the infection itself is gone by this time, doctors generally don’t prescribe antibiotics. Each child is different, but it’s not uncommon for symptoms of post-infectious syndrome to linger for months, or even years, and they can be made worse by stress or other illness. But most children do make a full recovery.
Blacklegged, or deer, ticks are very small, so it helps to know what to look for when doing a tick check. Adults are about the size of sesame seeds and in the nymph or larva stage, they can be as tiny as a poppy seeds.
Late Lyme Disease Symptoms
Late Lyme Disease Symptoms may include inflammation, joint pain/stiffness, and sometimes neurological symptoms. Symptoms of late Lyme disease occur months to years after a tick bite.
Muscle and joint symptoms may occur in 80% of individuals with Lyme disease who have not been treated with antibiotics. 20% of individuals experience joint pain, 50% experience intermittent episodes of arthritis , and fewer than 10% experience persistent arthritis of a single joint or a few joints.
Neurologic symptoms chronic pain, difficulty with memory, slowed thought processes, and odd sensations, such as numbness or tingling. However, late neurologic manifestations can include anxiety, depression, or personality/mood changes. These symptoms are more rare and are usually caused by something other than Lyme disease.
Skin symptoms may include skin nodules, swelling, thinning of patches of skin, which usually occurs on the hands, feet, knees, or elbows.
Post-Late Lyme disease syndrome nonspecific symptoms, such as headache, fatigue, and joint pain, may linger for months after the treatment of Lyme disease has ended. However, these symptoms gradually resolve, and there is no evidence that antibiotics improve or speed up the resolution of post-Lyme disease symptoms.
Don’t Miss: How To Protect Yourself From Lyme Disease
What Is Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is an infectious disease. It is caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria found in ticks. Lyme is more common in wooded areas or in nature. It is transmitted to the human body by the bite of an infected black-legged or deer tick. Based on the old standards, in order to transmit the disease, the tick usually has to stay in the body for 24 to 48 hours or longer. However, the new studies show that even 15 min from tick attachment it may transmit the variety of microbes into the victim.
Chronic Lyme Dos And Don’ts
Chronic Lyme disease is an ongoing Borrelia burgdorferi infection that can involve any body system or tissue. The infection produces a wide range of symptoms and signs, which can be debilitating for some patients. Common symptoms include severe fatigue, migratory musculoskeletal pain, headaches, and impaired memory. Unfortunately, chronic Lyme disease is complex and often misunderstood, which means that many patients will struggle to obtain the care they need to regain their health. Every patient concerned about Lyme disease and tick-borne illness should know the following.
Also Check: How To Know If I Have Lyme Disease
How Is Lyme Disease Treated
For early Lyme disease, a short course of oral antibiotics such as doxycycline or amoxicillin is curative in the majority of the cases. In more complicated cases, Lyme disease can usually be successfully treated with three to four weeks of antibiotic therapy.
In patients who have non-specific symptoms after being treated for Lyme disease and who have no evidence of active infection , studies have shown that more antibiotic therapy is not helpful and can be dangerous.
What Are The Worst Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Its important to acknowledge flu-like symptoms if you live in an area where ticks are present or you have recently been in a wooded region, because when Lyme disease is left untreated, it can lead to severe health consequences. Very often, the worst symptoms of Lyme disease are ones that you may not have even known could happen after a tick bite.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most severe symptoms of Lyme disease include:
- Severe headaches
- Facial paralysis, a condition known as Bells palsy
- Muscle, joint, tendon, and bone aches
- Heart disorders, a condition known as Lyme carditis
- Additional skin rashes other than the one that presents at the onset of infection
- Dizzy spells
- Nerve pain
While not all flu-like symptoms you feel will be caused by Lyme disease, it is important to pay attention to both your body and your recent surroundings if you have been in an area frequented by ticks. One trick to telling the difference between Lyme disease and a typical flu is the consistency of the symptoms. Lyme flu-like symptoms tend to come and go, whereas typical flu symptoms will be persistent until your body has recovered, after which they will subside.
Lyme disease can cause permanent damage. Knowing you have Lyme as early as possible is key to overcoming the symptoms and avoiding any possible long-term effects.
Read Also: Muscle Testing For Lyme Disease
Evaluation Of Study Subjects
Follow-up evaluations, which were performed at a field clinic in East Lyme, Connecticut, 19941996, included a medical history and physical examination, questionnaires about current symptoms and health status, and neuropsychological tests. The study was approved by the Human Investigations Committee at New England Medical Center. Information about current symptoms was first obtained by a symptom questionnaire, and the answers and the past medical history were discussed with a single physician investigator . The physical examination, which was also performed by that investigator, included examination of the joints, a tender point examination, and a detailed neurologic examination of strength testing, light touch sensation, pinprick, position sensation, reflexes, extraocular muscles, and facial and trigeminal nerve function.
Resources For Maine Residents
Public Law, Chapter 340, LD 597, 126th Maine State Legislature: An Act to Inform Persons of the Options for the Treatment of Lyme Disease
- Acknowledges difficulty in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease
- Information on risks of long term antibiotic therapy
Public Law, Chapter 235, LD 422, 127th Maine State Legislature: An Act to Improve Access to Treatments for Lyme Disease
- Allows licensed physicians to prescribe long-term antibiotic therapy to eliminate infection or to control a patients symptoms
Read Also: Lyme Disease And Red Meat
What Are The Symptoms Of Chronic Lyme Disease
Despite some skepticism in the medical community, chronic Lyme disease is a growing epidemic in the U.S. This stems partly from the shortcomings of many of the officially recommended Lyme disease tests, which leave too many patients with untreated infections that then become persistent and debilitating.
The following article will cover what you should know about chronic Lyme and provide an introductory but non-exhaustive chronic Lyme disease symptoms checklist.
How Can Lyme Disease Last For Years
Category: Health Published: October 9, 2015
If treated, Lyme disease does not last for years. However, for some people, the after-effects of the disease can linger for months and sometimes even years. Alternative medicine providers call this condition “Chronic Lyme disease,” but this title is simply wrong. For a person who has been infected with Lyme disease and then treated, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease is measurably no longer present in his body, even though he may still feel some symptoms. The correct title for this condition is therefore “Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome.”
Lyme disease is an infection caused by a bacteria known as Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria is delivered to humans through tick bites. From the bite site, the bacteria can enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body. Usually, but not always, an infectious tick bite causes a characteristic red rash at the site of the bite. Other symptoms include fever, muscle soreness, headache, fatigue, and dizziness. In a few cases, symptoms can also include mood swings, memory loss, and sleep disturbance. If left untreated for too long, Lyme disease can lead to nerve damage, thereby causing shooting pain, numbness, and even paralysis.
The CDC states,
Don’t Miss: How To Test Ticks For Lyme Disease
How You Get Lyme Disease
If a tick bites an animal carrying the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, the tick can become infected. The tick can then transfer the bacteria to a human by biting them.
Ticks can be found in any areas with deep or overgrown plants where they have access to animals to feed on.
They’re common in woodland and moorland areas, but can also be found in gardens or parks.
Ticks don’t jump or fly. They climb on to your clothes or skin if you brush against something they’re on. They then bite into the skin and start to feed on your blood.
Generally, you’re more likely to become infected if the tick is attached to your skin for more than 24 hours. Ticks are very small and their bites are not painful, so you may not realise you have one attached to your skin.
Symptoms Of Acute Lyme Disease:
- Flat, circular rash with a bulls eye
- Joint pain, including neck and back pain
- Neurological issues migrating numbness, tingling or burning pains
- Fibromyalgia-like pain
- Other chronic health issues
Chronic Lyme disease is often confused with fibromyalgia, autoimmune conditions, mental health issues, and psychosomatic illness. Without proper diagnosis and treatment, people with chronic Lyme disease may get worse over time and never recover.
You May Like: How Long Does A Lyme Blood Test Take
Chronic Lyme: What Happens When Lyme Goes Untreated
The Lyme community typically uses the term chronic Lyme disease to describe a range of physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms that crop up after getting Lyme disease and persist for months to years after infection.
The risk of chronic Lyme increases the longer a Lyme infection goes untreated or undertreated. In other words, patients are more likely to recover fully if their Lyme infection is detected and treated as early as possible after the discovery of a tick bite. This stage is usually marked by symptoms such as fevers, chills, muscle aches, and sometimes rashes.
When left untreated or undertreated, however, Lyme disease can spread throughout the body and affect:
- The central nervous system
- Muscles and joints
As Lymedisease.org points out, these symptoms can evolve, disappear, and reappear at different times.
Treatment For Other Forms Of Lyme Disease
People with other forms of disseminated Lyme disease may require longer courses of antibiotics or intravenous treatment with antibiotics such as ceftriaxone. For more information about treating other forms of Lyme disease, see:
The National Institutes of Health has funded several studies on the treatment of Lyme disease that show most people recover within a few weeks of completing a course of oral antibiotics when treated soon after symptom onset. In a small percentage of cases, symptoms such as fatigue and myalgia can last for more than 6 months. This condition is known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome , although it is also sometimes called chronic Lyme disease. For details on research into chronic Lyme disease and long-term treatment trials sponsored by NIH, visit the visit the National Institutes of Health Lyme Disease web siteexternal icon.
Also Check: Lyme Research And Healing Center
Symptoms Of Early Stage Lyme Disease
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , early-stage Lyme disease symptoms crop up within 3 to 30 days after exposure and can include but are not limited to:
- Joint pain and swelling
- Swelling of the lymph nodes
- Erythema migrans , a bulls-eye-shaped rash that appears at the site of the tick bite
Early Lyme disease does not always appear the same in all patients. For example, up to 30% of patients dont remember experiencing a bulls eye rash.
Some Chronic Lyme Disease Symptoms
As mentioned, chronic Lyme disease consists of a broad cluster of physical, cognitive, and psychiatric symptoms. Some of these symptoms are much more common, while others almost never occur, but can be deadly. But even the less severe symptoms, such as chronic fatigue and pain, can lead to drastic changes in quality of life for chronic Lyme patients.
Chronic Lyme survivors have reported experiencing the following symptoms for months to years after infection:
- Intermittent fevers, chills, and sweats
- Chronic inflammation
- Numbness and tingling in the limbs
- Dizziness and shortness of breath
- Heart palpitations and irregular heartbeat
- Anxiety and paranoia
- Multiple-chemical sensitivities
Chronic Lyme disease can be linked to deadly symptoms, such as Lyme carditis .
According to Lymedisease.org, studies consistently show that chronic Lyme disease patients have poorer quality of life than those with other chronic diseases. One of their own studies showed that 75% of surveyed patients reported at least one symptom as severe or very severe.
Read Also: Different Tests For Lyme Disease