Response from Project Lyme Board Members Jennifer Weis and Nan Kurzman
There are false assumptions in this article that disparage the suffering of many and discourage the search for the truth. Chief among them is this mother’s certainty that her son will remain well. While we hope he will, and that indeed he is one of the “easy to treat” cases who resolves forever, there is a possibility that he will not be. This uncertainty that lies at the heart of diagnosing and treating tick-borne illness- how this disease manifests differently in everyone- must by necessity convey a humility when encountering it. That is completely the opposite of the arrogant certitude expressed here. The NY Times is doing a disservice to those who are and will be affected any minute and must use what existing limited resources there are to get well. By emphasizing the success of this case, it fosters a false sense of security- not only for Lyme disease but also for other known infections carried by the same tick like Powassan virus, which can and has resulted in death, and Babesia, which can be lethal- both of which are not treatable by the same antibiotics that can be used to treat Lyme disease. Everyone can agree Lyme is epidemic: there is no time for minimizing the risk and potential long-term consequences.
Horror stories about lingering Lyme disease proliferate, but the illness is easily treated.
When I mentioned to various people last December that my 9-year-old son, Akash, had Lyme disease, many immediately told me horror stories. A parent at the school bus stop told me about a family friend in her 20s who has never recovered from her infection. A co-worker at the neighborhood co-op told me that his father-in-law has had seizures ever since his diagnosis. Even a fellow science journalist told me she knows some people never recover.
“Everybody, I tell you everybody, has an aunt or an uncle or a friend who got Lyme disease and is now chronically disabled,” said Dr. Sunil Sood, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Northwell Health, Cohen Children’s Medical Center in Long Island, N.Y. “Unfortunately, it’s become ingrained that it’s a chronic condition — and there could be nothing further from the truth.”
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