The following article was written by Dr. Zemmel and was published in the Hartford Courant. Lyme disease and it's coinfections is the real pandemic threatening our world...NOT the Swine Flu or the Bird flu or SARS or West Nile Virus. Our attention is being misdirected towards flu propaganda while the black plague of Lyme disease is spreading across the world. Doctors, such as Dr. Zemmel are allowing this tidal wave of suffering and death to continue. After his article below will be my comment and then the link for comments to the Hartford Courant on this opinion piece.
YOUR VIEW: LAWRENCE ZEMEL
Law Would Allow Risky Treatment For Lyme Disease
June 19, 2009
The General Assembly passed an ill-considered bill concerning the treatment of Lyme disease, which Gov. M. Jodi Rell should veto.
Under the measure endorsed by state legislators, state physicians would be allowed to prescribe antibiotics for indefinite periods of time for Lyme disease, with no oversight by the state Department of Health.
As a physician, I know long-term antibiotic treatment is dangerous. These are not harmless drugs and should not be administered for months, let alone years. There has been at least one documented death from prolonged intravenous antibiotics, but never a documented death from Lyme disease. The bill's advocates say it's about protecting patients, but unfortunately, the bill does more to protect physicians who practice substandard care.
Long-term antibiotic therapy increases the risk of creating super-bacteria: germs that are becoming resistant to currently available medications because of overuse of antibiotics. An example is Methicillin-resistant staph aureaus, also know as MRSA, which is a dangerous form of bacteria created, in part, by our abuse of antibiotics.
There is no question that Lyme disease is a major health problem, and that Connecticut is at the epicenter of this tick-borne illness. There are standard ways to diagnose Lyme disease, usually by observing the characteristic rash or, when that is not present, combining clinical and laboratory findings.
Once a diagnosis of Lyme disease is made, antibiotics are prescribed, and the majority of patients with Lyme disease respond to treatment with two to four weeks of oral antibiotics.
And yet, there are many patients who think they have Lyme disease, but are not responding to standard courses of antibiotics. Most of these non-responders probably do not have Lyme disease, and will not respond to treatment for their medically unexplained symptoms.
Why do some patients believe prolonged antibiotic therapy improved or eliminated their symptoms? For many, their symptoms are self-limited, and their improvement has nothing to do with their treatment. For others, the antibiotics may have anti-inflammatory effects, like ibuprofen. And for some there is a strong placebo effect: If they think they will get better (and pay dearly), then they do.
These patients are often described as "sero-negative" Lyme patients. Tests done by university and qualified commercial laboratories are negative, but when sent to an out-of-state "specialty" lab, the tests are positive. This lab has been cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Food and Drug Administration for poor quality control and the use of diagnostic criteria that differs from federal standards. Interestingly, the small group of "Lyme-literate" physicians who are promoted by unfiltered and medically inaccurate Internet sites use this laboratory almost exclusively.
The Infectious Diseases Society of America carefully examined some of these questions and published its 2006 guidelines on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease. The authors examined 405 scientific studies in drawing conclusions, including three studies that specifically looked at whether long-term antibiotics worked in bona fide Lyme patients with chronic complaints. The society concluded that long-term antibiotics were no more effective than a placebo, could actually do more harm than good, and were not recommended.
This bill should be vetoed to protect the public from misinformed advice.
•Lawrence Zemel, M.D., is a professor of pediatrics at the University of Connecticut Health Center.
Copyright © 2009, The Hartford Courant
I don't understand how Dr. Zemmel and other doctors....who must know better.... can think that they will ultimately get away with their unscientific claim that there is no such thing as chronic lyme.Thousands upon thousands of those with undiagnosed and or untreated lyme disease are needlessly suffering and dying due to this unscientific nonsense.
They have no proof that the lyme spirochete is eliminated with 3 to 4 weeks of antibiotics. The lyme organism is pleomorphic (changes shape and identity)so when tests are looking for one form of this germ, the lyme bacteria could be evading detection due to this pleomorphism.
It also appears that the the lyme spirochete forms biofilms (colonies of bacteria encased in a slime) which protect the germ from antibiotics and helps it to evade detection by the immune system and current testing. Why is this never discussed by the chronic lyme denialists?
Dr. Zemmel discusses the problem of the antibiotics killing off the good bacteria which allows the harmful bacteria to overpopulate. This is an actual problem, which is why doctors who specialize in treating chronic Lyme disease strongly suggest that the patient take probiotics in the form of fermented foods or capsules.
It's time for the press to publish the studies proving that lyme can be a chronic relapsing infection. Why hasn't this been done when these studies have been continuously brought to the attention of the Courant and other papers? Which newspaper will be the first to stand up for what is right? You have the chance to help your readers, your community and the world...as this disease and it's co-infections are the REAL Pandemic we need to be concerned about. Instead it is being covered up and the disease is being allowed to pass through the population unchecked.Why aren't the different methods of person to person transmission of this disease being seriously studied?
Please go to this Hartford Courant Link to view the other comments