Lyme Disease


Michelle Estevez, Staff Writer

Justin Bieber, Bella Hadid, and Avril Lavigne are all names that most people are familiar with. But something that most people don’t know is that all of these people have Lyme disease. Lyme disease is a disease you can get from the bite of a tick infected with a bacteria called Borrelia. This disease causes fatigue, rashes, heart palpitations, and you can even lose feeling in your muscles. If it’s not treated early on it can cause; arthritis, severe headaches, nerve pains, and inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. It’s described as having the flu but 10 ten times worse. 

Since it was only discovered in the mid 1970’s, research on this disease is fairly new and still is yet to be expanded. Although there is no way to know approximately how many people have been diagnosed with Lyme disease before it was discovered, what we do know is that at least 476,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease every year in the U.S. Ticks are more prominent between spring, summer and early fall but they can be active anytime when its at least above freezing. They also have appeared in every state, but are more well-known in wooded or tall grass areas. Even though Lyme disease is a disease many suffer from, after prescribed antibiotics most people recover from the disease smoothly. 

People with Lyme disease suffer from not being able to believe they have this disease. There are two main controversies that affect peoples perspective on this disease; the first one would be how Lyme disease is diagnosed. The test the CDC recommends to detect Lyme disease is an immune response to the bacteria, but it doesn’t test for Borrelia by itself. This can cause the test to turn out negative if the person has not had the disease for more than a month, since a response for immunity only builds up after at least a couple of weeks after the person got bite by a tick. Even with this test, it still difficult to diagnose Lyme disease, but something that can almost always identify that you have Lyme disease is a red bullseye rash around the tick bite. Unfortunately only 80% of people with Lyme disease develop the bulls-eye rash. Since Lyme disease is also considered to have similar symptoms as other diseases, and that it has barely any biological evidence, its hard for some medical professionals to feel comfortable diagnosing or treating this disease. 

The other main controversy is how Lyme disease is treated. Usually once diagnosed with Lyme disease, a doctor will prescribe antibiotics, but the antibiotics are usually only recommended to be in use for up to 28 days by the Infectious Diseases Society of America(IDSA). This contradicts what the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society recommends for the antibiotics, which is that a shorter prescription of medicine is usually inefficient for Lyme disease. Even after prescribed antibiotics, a large group of people still suffer from post- treatment Lyme disease(PTLD). PTLD is when people with Lyme disease still have or develop symptoms after treatment. Symptoms can include fatigue, aches, brain fog, and palpitations, and it can last for months or even years. 

People living with Lyme disease have to face it’s insurance companies. Since the CDC explains that Lyme disease can be treated with in 2-4 weeks with the right antibiotics, most insurance companies don’t consider Lyme Disease a long term illness/chronic illness, so they usually wont pay for certain long term treatment. Whether someone wants to believe Lyme disease is real or not, what is real is the hardships that Lyme disease patients go through. It can be physical pain symptoms being ignored by medical professionals or even just the people in their life. So although its important to focus and grow in the medical aspect ,we can’t forget about the people who are constantly being affected by this disease today.