Dangerous Lyme Disease needs aggressive treatment
To the editor:
I disagree with some of the conclusions and recommendations on Lyme disease in the Health Take-Away on July 25. The information below is from Dr. Nevena Zubcevik, attending physician at Harvard Medical School and director of the Dean Center for Tick Borne Illnesses at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.
The concept that it takes 48 hours for the tick to transmit the disease is outdated. For some tick borne illnesses it takes 15 minutes.
A two-day treatment of doxycycline for anyone with an embedded tick is worthless. It should be twice a day for 20 days.
Research has shown that there are 10 different strains of Lyme disease in the U.S. and many of them do not test positive on the tradition Western Blot or ELISA tests.
With current testing, 69 of 100 patients with Lyme go untreated. The bull's eye rash only happens 20 percent of the time.
There are many other symptoms of Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome besides joint pain including sudden onset dementia and other neurological problems.
Unfortunately, the Massachusetts Infectious Disease Society does not recognize Chronic Lyme Disease and recently came out against the Massachusetts legislature's budget amendment to require insurance companies to cover the cost of long-term antibiotic treatment. They also don't recognize the presence of Lyme disease if the tests come back negative.
Gordon Clark, Pittsfield