The San Francisco Chronicle Shows
Smart Lyme Discernment
Challenges CDC Errors and Poor Common Sense
An amazingly discerning reporter calls into question the CDC approach to Lyme disease. On May 1, 2006 Jenny Jedeikin wrote "Sleuthing Lyme" which powerfully raises these sample discerning points:
- The numbers for Lyme disease in California are three times higher for 2005 than for the previous year. Despite that fact, the CDC recently warned the public that some private medical laboratories may be overdiagnosing positive results of Lyme disease to better their business. [The CDC knows cases are on the rise but opposes labs that show this rise.]
- Independent scientific studies suggest [this supposed overdiagnosing by IGeneX] ... is not true. The discrepancy stems from the fact that the CDC's recommended test for Lyme uses far too narrow criteria for recognizing the illness. Its approved ...ELISA... only 65 percent accurate... [and] even less so when the test is done several months after a patient has been infected.
- IGeneX... tests for additional Lyme [proteins].... After the government-recommended ELISA test missed chronic Lyme disease in bestselling author, Amy Tan, IGeneX detected Lyme antibodies. Tan had seen 10 doctors who had missed it, too. [She is hardly the only one].
- In New York state proficiency tests, IGeneX has received a score of better than 95 percent, and, out of 58 labs tested, only IGeneX, had a perfect score for its Western "blot proficiency test. Yet, in 2005, the CDC warned about Lyme tests "whose accuracy and clinical usefulness have not been adequately established." [In blind testing it appears to be the best lab in the country and the CDC helps make patients afraid of their superior excellence. This results in more illness and possible increased deaths?].
- Jedeikin prophetically rebukes the CDC saying: "This warning [against IGeneX] is a great disservice to Lyme-disease victims who turn to these laboratories for answers after months, and often years, of painful, unexplained symptoms.
- May is California Lyme awareness month. Yet. ...many doctors continue to tell patients they can't even contract Lyme disease here.
- Jedeikin powerfully offers fascinating research by UC Berkeley [scientist]... Robert Lane [who reports]... 36 percent of the residents of the San Francisco Bay Area have antibodies to tick saliva of I. pacificus -- indicating that they have unknowingly been bitten. Lane says that if a person is infected with a California strain of Borrelia burgdorferi, the corkscrew-shaped bacteria that causes Lyme disease, there is a 20 percent chance they will get a false negative on a test that does not specifically use a California strain in the mix. Lane concluded, "The medical community should be alerted that Lyme disease can be highly endemic in rural areas of northwestern California."
- Jedeikin brilliantly explains that Lyme is not limited to arthritis and occasional rashes. She explains: "Long-term Lyme disease can be debilitating, including body aches, neurological damage and even loss of sight. Its symptoms are often misdiagnosed or confused with those of other diseases such as fibromyalgia, Parkinson's disease, Lou Gehrig's disease or multiple sclerosis, the medical literature refers to it as "the great imitator."
- The most unfortunate outcome of the debate on the definition of Lyme, is that chronic Lyme sufferers are forced to pay their medical expenses out of pocket.
Jenny Jedeikin of Kentfield began researching Lyme disease after her partner was diagnosed with the disease.
Jedeikin's brilliant and penetrating writing is available in full at the San Francisco Chronicle: