Streams

Please Explain: Lyme Disease

Friday, September 03, 2010

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness in North America, and the number of reported cases has been steadily climbing over the last decade. We’re joined by Brian Fallon, associate professor of clinical psychiatry and director of the Lyme and Tick-borne Diseases Research Center at Columbia University Medical Center, and Dr. Carolyn Britton, associate professor of clinical neurology at Columbia University Medical Center, and chief neurologist for the Lyme research studies conducted by Columbia’s Lyme and Tick-borne Diseases Research Center. They’ll discuss how the disease is spread, diagnosed, and treated, and how we can protect ourselves while we’re outside this summer.

Guests:

Dr. Carolyn Britton and Dr. Brian Fallon

Comments [13]

Doreen from boston

Have had Lyme. Since around 08., but.I believe it had layed dormant.until.October of 12, been on doxy for six weeks now. went to two infectious disease.doctors, one at Leahy clinic, dr duffalo, one. Winchester hospital,.dr Adler. Neither of.them.believed my.positive Lyme.test. Now have chronic neck, ones, and.hip pain. Memory loss, intolerance to heat or cold, all because they don't have a.damn clue how to Treat Lyme.disease or.interpid the test. please don't waste your time or. On infectious disease docs, they suck more than ticks. pleAse look for.a Lyme doctor in your area

Jan. 10 2013 10:47 PM
Judi from California

Like you, Ken, I too was bitten by a Lyme tic and took Doxycycline for two weeks. Felt better for a few days and wham! Neck locked up-spine, back, numbness in arms, tingling in hands, vision problems, fatigue, forgetfulness, lightheadedness, chills, and headaches. Off and on for days now. Bit 3 weeks ago. Also bit 10 years ago with delayed treatment for 3 months-then very strong antibiotics. Have been living with Chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, heart palpitations, panic attacks, and just recently started to feel better. Ugh! Had blood test done today-dr ordered at her lab. Do pursue that! Sometimes can be tough to kill off. This time Im gonna fight till its dead!!! Prayers for your complete recovery!!!

Sep. 10 2010 09:36 PM
Judi

Like you, Ken, I too was bitten by a Lyme tic and took Doxycycline for two weeks. Felt better for a few days and wham! Neck locked up-spine, back, numbness in arms, tingling in hands, vision problems, fatigue, forgetfulness, lightheadedness, chills, and headaches. Off and on for days now. Bit 3 weeks ago. Also bit 10 years ago with delayed treatment for 3 months-then very strong antibiotics. Have been living with Chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, heart palpitations, panic attacks, and just recently started to feel better. Ugh! Had blood test done today-dr ordered at her lab. Do pursue that! Sometimes can be tough to kill off. This time Im gonna fight till its dead!!! Prayers for your complete recovery!!!

Sep. 10 2010 09:28 PM
Another Lyme victim from GA

I've had it for 25 years (funky tick bite when I was 8), but I wasn't diagnosed until a couple of months ago by an ND. No MD has ever known what to do with me and told me, "You're too young to feel like this." I suppose if I had been in the northeast rather than the southeast, it might have been recognized earlier.

Sep. 06 2010 09:56 AM
Ariel from ny

Hi. How does lyme disease effect pregrancy

Sep. 03 2010 11:20 PM
Jen from NY

Problems I have with this broadcast: 1) Less than 70% of people get the rash! Just because you don't have the rash, doesn't mean "the tick wasn't infected." I never got a rash. IF YOU GET BIT BY A TICK, I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH, GO TO YOUR DR. IMMEDIATELY. DO NOT WAIT FOR A RASH.
2) A good amount of the time, lyme will not show in blood tests. Spinal taps are much more reliable as the spirochete has the capacity to hide in different parts of your body. 3) Most drs. (excepting those on the board of the CDC who made the decision in the first place over lyme's chronic disease status...) are unable to experiment with different vaccines or treatment. How is the average doctor able to perform experiments and get funding for testing for a disease that "doesn't exist"? 4) You cannot spray yourself or ever protect yourself from lyme 100%. My family used to spray ourselves in tick repellent, tuck pant legs into socks so they can't crawl under there, wear long sleeve shirts, and would all perform tick checks on each other whenever we came back from being in the woods. My tick, the only tick that ever bit me, had hidden on my scalp and was eventually found engorged on my ear. NEVER THINK YOU ARE 100% PROTECTED, NEVER LET YOUR GUARD DOWN. 5) Not mentioned at all in the program, lyme can be transmitted in utero to fetuses. 6) Ticks are not drawn to anyone person more so than any other. They way ticks 'choose' a host is that they wait, they can wait entire months if need be, until an animal brushes against their spot and they hitch a ride on your body. Adult ticks prefer larger animals such as dogs, deer, and humans while nymph ticks (the teenage stage in a tick's life) prefers smaller animals such as mice. Ticks are in the larval stage during the winter and can still infect you then. The caller who has gotten lyme multiple times while her husband has not, most likely is suffering from chronic lyme and is not being constantly reinfected. 7) Lyme disease is not limited to ticks. Explosions in tick populations, deer and field mice populations are not entirely to blame but certainly doesn't help. Lyme disease has also been found in insects such as black flies and mosquitos although not nearly as in as high amounts. These bugs can still infect you, although the risk is much smaller.

There is so much about this disease that this program really did not scratch the surface much at all.

Sep. 03 2010 04:14 PM
Jen from NY

To everyone questioning "When will I feel better?", I've had chronic lyme disease for over 13 years of my life now. While sometimes you'll be lucky and medication will help it go into remission, not to be a debbie downer but that does not mean you will always be better. Chronic lyme disease can come back within months, within years, whenever. Mine has come back every winter and lasts for varying amounts of time. Chronic lyme disease is something you will battle the rest of your life. The treatments are dictated by the CDC and how much your insurance company will cover. Your insurance doesn't have to cover too much as the CDC says its not a real disease. The documentary Under Our Skin is a great resource to check out about this growing problem. Myself, I've just gone through 2 month long rounds of IV antibiotics, 3 months and 2 weeks of oral antibiotics and I still see no real improvement. I'm 24 years old and I walk with a cane these days. Chronic lyme can also lead to more serious diseases such as M.S., bells palsey, and meningitis. Lyme disease is a very serious disease and the CDC is failing to the point of actually hurting all of us. If anyone else knows of any effective ways to become an activist, I'd throw my heart and soul in to help. This disease has seriously ruined my life.

Sep. 03 2010 03:29 PM
Doug C from Fair Haven, NJ

There seems to be no absolute truth in testing. I was bitten six years ago, treated with doxycycline and became progressively worse with increasing neurological symptoms. I was treated with IV antibiotics and am still not well but am better. One thing I can say about testing and treatment is that almost everything you will hear from the CDC is completely wrong. The rash is dismissed, the tests they champion are inaccurate and their treatment is insufficient. The Colombia Lyme Research center seems to be the one bright spot in the morass of medical misinformation. They are genuinely observing and studying this illness, Thank you for this.

Sep. 03 2010 02:54 PM
marc parrilli

Lemongrass oil is a very good repellent, much more so than citronella, which is an old remedy for mosquitos and ticks. You can make a nice blend of cedarwood, lemongrass, fir needle and peppermint oils to repell fleas, ticks and mosquitos. Dip some unscented thin punks, like what they use for incense in the oil blend and burn them on your patio in successive, staggered lightings to repell mosquitos.

Sep. 03 2010 01:59 PM
Betty from Rowayton, CT

Everyone that I know that has had lyme and was treated for 4 weeks said that it was not enough and they had to be treated again. I have just finished 6 weeks of doxycycline treatment for lyme disease because my doctor insists on treating for 6 weeks. If 4 weeks is not enough, why do so many doctors still use that guideline? Is it an insurance issue?

Sep. 03 2010 01:50 PM
Ken Doyle from New Brunswick, NJ

I was bitten by a tick back in 2007, I had noticed the bulls eye rash. I took Doxycycline for 2 weeks.

However, I have experiences some of the symptoms of prolonged Lyme, such as joint paint, stiff neck, problems concentrating. I did some research and found that some studies have shown that the Lyme bacteria can bore very deep and may not be treated by oral anti-biotics. is this correct?

What is a definitive test to diagnose Lyme and where can I get this test done?

Sep. 03 2010 01:39 PM
Ken Doyle from New Brunswick, NJ

I was bitten by a tick back in 2007, I had noticed the bulls eye rash. I took Doxycycline for 2 weeks.

However, I have experiences some of the symptoms of prolonged Lyme, such as joint paint, stiff neck, problems concentrating. I did some research and found that some studies have shown that the Lyme bacteria can bore very deep and may not be treated by oral anti-biotics. is this correct?

What is a definitive test to diagnose Lyme and where can I get this test done?

Sep. 03 2010 01:37 PM
Virginia Horan from Long Island

Hi - looks like I've had lyme for four years. I'm on iv rocephin for six weeks now - when can I expect to feel a bit better - my main symptom is exhaustion. Also, insurance stopped coverage and it costs about $500/week for me to do this. How can I be a lyme activist?

Sep. 03 2010 01:37 PM

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