Lyme Political Expert and Lyme Educator
Replies to Time Magazine
Panic is not necessary when considering Lyme disease, but facts are, evidenced by Time's recent article presenting Lyme disease as easily prevented and easily cured. America's most prevalent vector-borne disease, infecting almost 240,000 annually, Lyme can be caused by a poppy seed-sized nymph deer tick that may sometimes be systemically infected, (bacteria in the salivary glands), making attachment time a moot point. Its habitat is spreading; its infection rate is climbing, joining the lone star tick, whose habitat was capped at Central Jersey 20 years ago, now inhabits Maine, and also carries the Lyme bacteria. Lyme has been reported in 49 states and DC--with only Montana never reporting cases but now investigating a "Lyme-like" disease.
The bull's eye rash does not "usually" accompany the disease, and sometimes no rash appears. Testing is woefully inaccurate_you can test negative and still have the disease. It can mimic other diseases, e.g., MS, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and ALS. The bacteria's long life cycle often thwarts eradication by antibiotics.
10-15% of people develop chronic disease from a bacteria with the ability to enter the CNS within hours of a tick bite. Lyme can enter and exit a cell cloaked in the cell's own material thus evading the immune system. It is a bacteria that can change into other than spirochete form, making it difficult for antibiotics to target, and a bacteria that can cross the placenta and cause birth defects or death of the fetus.
"It's important to keep Lyme disease in perspective," says the writer. I agree. In perspective, one of the most challenging diseases seen in a long time_difficult to prevent, diagnose and treat, and physically and mentally debilitating_ Lyme is an enigma that may not deserve panic but certainly deserves more respect than was given it by this writer.
Pat Smith, President
Lyme Disease Association, Inc.
PO Box 1438
Jackson, NJ 08527
888-366-6611 information line
732 938-7215 fax
Dear Ms. Smith:
Thank you for writing in respose to Dr. Sanjay Gupta's July 12 Your
Time article, "The Season of the Tick." We regret that you were at
all disappointed with his discussion of the disease. As he indicated
throughout the report, his primary source was the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention.
We have made note that you take issue with the CDC's data, and that you consequently found Dr. Gupta's observations on preventing and treating Lyme overly optimistic. Although our letter was not published, we nonetheless value your taking the time to register your perspective.