In the fullness of time, the mainstream handling of chronic Lyme disease will be viewed as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of medicine because elements of academic medicine, elements of government and virtually the entire insurance industry have colluded to deny a disease.
This has resulted in needless suffering of many individuals who deteriorate and sometimes die for lack of timely application of treatment or denial of treatment beyond some arbitrary duration.
Honest review of the worldwide peer-reviewed scientific literature reveals an abundance of evidence for the existence of chronic Lyme disease in humans and animals.
The standard of care set by the IDSA 2006 Lyme disease guidelines is one of medical neglect of persons suffering from chronic Lyme disease.However, such guidelines are indeed useful. They serve to shield from liability physicians who neglect persons with chronic Lyme disease. By misusing CDC case surveillance criteria as the sole basis for a clinical diagnosis of Lyme disease, these guidelines serve the insurance industry very well indeed because such cases represent but the tip of the iceberg of actual cases of Lyme disease, whether acute or chronic.
Physicians who have cared for persons with chronic Lyme disease have faced harassment at a minimum and for some, their careers have been ruined. Researchers who have seriously dedicated themselves to the scientific study of chronic Lyme disease in humans and/or animals have often found themselves attacked or marginalized. To persist in their researches would have resulted in virtual career suicide and some have been forced, by exigencies of survival, to leave the field.
State legislators have begun taking matters into their own hands and the states of Rhode Island, Connecticut, California, New York, Massachusetts and Minnesota have passed laws or promulgated policies protecting physicians who treat persons with chronic Lyme disease.
Seronegativity, a well-recognized feature of spirochetal disease (e.g. in syphilis) is held to not need consideration despite early recognition of this phenomenon in Lyme disease, ironically, by a signer of the 2000 and 2006 IDSA Lyme disease guidelines.
Denial of the possibility of seronegative Lyme disease, likewise serves the insurance industry well and also such simplistic constructs for Lyme disease also serve those physicians who cannot wrap their minds around the true complexity of this illness.
Kenneth B. Liegner, M.D.
Member, Treatment Panel, N.I.H. State-of-the-Art Conference on Lyme Disease, March 1991, Bethesda, MD. Co-Chair, Treatment Poster Discussion Section, Fifth International Conference on Lyme Borreliosis, May/June 1992, Arlington, VA.Participant, N.I.A.I.D. Consultations on Chronic Lyme Disease, February & October, 1994, Rockville, MD. Member, Program Committee, 7th International Conference on Lyme Borreliosis, San Francisco, CA., Spring 1996. Presenter to Infectious Diseases Society of America Lyme Disease Review Panel, July 30, 2009, Washington, D.C.