Lyme Disease

November 8, 2013 • Volume 23, Issue 40
Can the tick-borne illness be controlled?
By Jennifer Weeks

Introduction

Brandi Dean (Getty Images/The Boston Globe/Jonathan Wiggs)
Brandi Dean, a 36-year-old mother of two from Boston, takes antibiotics to try to control her Lyme disease, one of the most common infectious diseases in the United States. Federal officials say about 300,000 Lyme cases occur in the United States annually. (Getty Images/The Boston Globe/Jonathan Wiggs)

Lyme disease, caused by tick bites, is on the rise. In August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said new studies indicate that an estimated 300,000 cases of Lyme disease occur in the United States each year — 10 times the number officially reported. If this estimate stands, it would make Lyme the nation's third most common infectious disease. Virtually every aspect of the disease is controversial, from diagnosis and treatment to the effectiveness of preventive strategies. Most conventional medical experts say Lyme can be treated with two to four weeks of antibiotics, but about one-fifth of treated patients have persistent symptoms, such as fevers, fatigue, joint pain, dizziness, arthritis, memory problems and depression. Patient advocacy groups and some doctors say such “chronic” Lyme disease can persist for months or years, requiring long-term antibiotic treatment. Some states have passed laws protecting doctors who prescribe alternative therapies.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Disease
Jun. 02, 2017  Pandemic Threat
Jul. 22, 2016  Mosquito-Borne Disease
Feb. 13, 2015  Emerging Infectious Diseases
Nov. 08, 2013  Lyme Disease
Jan. 06, 2012  Preventing Disease
Apr. 02, 2010  Breast Cancer
Sep. 12, 2008  Heart Health
Aug. 24, 2007  Fighting Superbugs
Jan. 13, 2006  Avian Flu Threat
Jun. 20, 2003  Fighting SARS
Apr. 05, 2002  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Mar. 09, 2001  Diabetes Epidemic
Mar. 02, 2001  Mad Cow Disease
Dec. 24, 1999  Asthma Epidemic
Aug. 05, 1983  Multiple Sclerosis
May 27, 1983  Chronic Pain: The Hidden Epidemic
Sep. 24, 1976  Influenza Control
Sep. 16, 1970  Virus Research
Mar. 14, 1956  Progress Against Polio
May 25, 1955  Degenerative Diseases
May 25, 1949  Chronic Disease
Mar. 01, 1924  The Foot and Mouth Disease
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Hospitals
Infectious Diseases
Medical Research and Advocacy