Who Is at Risk for Lyme Disease?
Everyone is at risk for Lyme disease, including newborns. "Of the 5,000 children I've treated, 240 have been born with the disease," says the world's leading Lyme pediatric specialist Charles Ray Jones, M.D. medical director of the Pediatric/Adolescent Medicine and Lyme Disease clinic in New Haven, Connecticut.
Two years ago, another Lyme disease expert, Dan Kinderleher, M.D. stated on the Today Show that the then existing 1.8 million cases cited by the U.S. C enter for D isease C ontrol and P revention (CDCP) in Atlanta, Georgia had been under-reported by at least ten times. In the United States, therefore, in actuality over 18 million Lyme disease patients now exist.
"The CDCP criteria was developed only for surveillance; it was never meant for diagnosis," explains Dr. Jones. "Lyme is a clinical diagnosis.The test evidence may be used to support a clinical diagnosis, but it doesn't prove one has Lyme. About 50 percent of patients I've seen have been seronegative for Lyme but meet all the clinical criteria." 1
A renowned authority in the field of integrative medicine, W. Lee Cowden, M.D. of Ft. Worth, Texas, says, "There are very few symptoms where you shouldn't consider Lyme, especially given that a quarter of the U.S. population may be affected. More than 50 percent of ill people may have Lyme contributing to their condition." 2 (Please see our interview with Dr. Cowden which appears later in this Medical Journalist Report of Innovative Biologics .)
Marcus A. Cohen, New York Observer columnist for the Townsend Letter for Doctors & Patients. writes: ". for every case [of Lyme disease] reported, ten meeting the CDCP case definition aren't recorded. An unknown number of cases not meeting the CDCP surveilance criteria go unreported. Probable bottom line on the number of Americans who actually contract Lyme: 250,000 to 300,000 per year. " 3
Suffering from Lyme disease herself, Jo Anne Whitaker, M.D. F.A.A.P. President and Director of Research at Bowen Research & Training Institute, Inc. in Palm Harbor, Florida, has developed a blood test useful in evaluating treatment by comparing pre and post serial dilution results. Dr. Whitaker affirms: "We have now tested over 3,500 [blood] specimens, with 500 of these [specimens] from very sick children. They come from a wide geographical distribution and all are positive for cell-wall-deficient Lyme disease.
"The primary question is 'why are there no negatives?'" Dr. Whitaker goes on to ask, "Does everyone have it. Since 1999, all blood cultures have been positive with Bb, there were no negatives. We believe
this indicates the magnitude of the problem. We believe the problem is not only endemic but may also be reaching epidemic proportions. Early diagnosis is mandatory so that treatment can begin immediately to provide opportunity for cure and prevent chronic Lyme disease." 4
Lyme Disease Recognition and Transmission
Description of the Organism Causing Lyme Borreliosis
Dr. Burgdorfer had demonstrated that the spirochetes, Borrelia burgdorferi, reacted with immune serum from patients that had been diagnosed with Lyme disease. Resembling the syphilis spirochete, Treponema pallidum. the Ld spirochete was given the name Borrelia burgdorferi after its finder (see Photograph 2 ). Since the organism's discovery by Dr. Burgdorfer, about 100 American and 300 worldwide strains of Borrelia have been uncovered.
Inadequate Standard Lyme Disease Treatment
A vaccine that had been manufactured for Lyme disease is now removed from the market because evidence indicated that 30 percent of Ld patients who possess a certain gene were developing autoimmune arthritic disease from it. There is no known cure for this condition; plus, previously undiagnosed Lyme disease patients frequently become reactivated with Ld symptoms when they are vaccinated. Currently lawsuits against the vaccine manufacturer are in the courts. 6
The present standard approach to Ld therapy includes conventional antibiotics such as the oral administration of doxycycline, minocycline, tetracycline or amoxicillin for patients diagnosed early. Parenteral therapy by intravenous (IV) administration is used for those with neurologic involvement, severe arthritis, or any life-threatening manifesation such as complete heart block. Such treatment tends to be effective for acute conditions; however, therapy for chronic Lyme disease is currently inadequate and this truism causes it to be controversial.
Added to the usual antibiotics mentioned above, the Borrelia organism is additionally sensitive to clarithromycin (Biaxin®), metronidazole (Flagyl®), either of the two brandnamed products containing co-trimoxazole sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim (Bactrim® or Septra®), and azithromycin (Zinthromycin®). Any of the cited antimicrobials must be administered for a minimum of two months. Such prolonged antibiotic usage does destroy the patient's intestinal flora which usually manifests with severe candidiasis or other opportunistic infections.
The usual conventional antibiotic treatment gets prescribed for only two-to-three weeks, and it is completely inadequate. Such poor therapy invariably sees patients deteriorate with chronic symptoms of borreliosis including arthralgias, fatigue, and paresthesias. Also such insufficent treatment allows for Lyme disease relapses. Not knowing this, Lyme-illiterate physicians often join the therapy's controversy. Their figuring is that the disease does not exist or that no treatment works. The drug treatment they had employed was inadequate, and there is a failure in not seeking other natural and nontoxic alternatives.