Dangerous of misdiagnosed ‘chronic Lyme disease’ are on the rise

Lyme disease begins its journey from a small town in Connecticut, and currently made its way into the list of the most prevalent vector borne disease in the temperate region of the northern hemisphere. Lyme disease is caused by bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes fever, headache, fatigue and skin rash called Erythema Migrans. When treatment is not received in time, it will manifest itself into illness in skin, joint, heart, and nervous system. While chronic Lyme disease is a poorly defined term that describe the attribution of various atypical syndrome to protracted Borrelia burgdorferi infection. The syndromes usually diagnosed as chronic Lyme disease include chronic pain, fatigue, neurocognitive, and behavioral symptoms, as well as various alternative medical diagnoses.


On June 15 of 2017, The Washington Post issue an news base on report, which showed an increasing number of American with medical ambiguous symptom are misdiagnosed with ‘chronic Lyme disease’ and prescribe dangerous treatment and expensive treatment. These misdiagnose is nothing new in the field of health, but due to increase in the severity and scope of some newly developed treatment, this issue complicates and result in more deadly consequences.


Treatments that have been employed by hospital to treat chronic Lyme disease include course of intravenous antibiotics last months or years and have no evidence of effectiveness. This prolong antibiotic treatment have been proven to cause septic shot and death due to weaken immune system. Not to mention that misdiagnose will delay the actual treatment the patient truly need.


In the article, the reporter told a story of a woman in her 50s misdiagnoses with chronic Lyme disease and received intravenous antibiotic treatment for several months. She was eventually diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, but due to prolong antibiotic treatment she developed an intractable C. difficile infection, with severe abdominal cramps and diarrhea that persisted for more than two years. She eventually died from complication related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.


I don’t recommend diagnosis “chronic Lyme disease” for patient exhibiting symptoms that could relate to Lyme disease. As we see through the report many diagnosis is base on clinical judgment and really subjective. We current don’t have an accurate way of diagnosing chronic Lyme disease; if we continue to let chronic Lyme disease to be an option then we are prone to get more misdiagnosis. Especially when treatment of the chronic Lyme disease have not showed any validity in treating patient. I felt the dangerous of prolong antibiotic treatment out weight the possible risk of chronic Lyme disease when we lack an sufficient way of detecting chronic Lyme disease.







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