Diagnosis and treatment of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases and conditions is often difficult due to the variable presentation. As these risks continue to grow, Coloradans are in need of medical care providers experienced in recognition, diagnosis and treatment of tick-borne diseases and conditions.
We have provided some additional resources to help you navigate the often unrecognized and complex illnesses that can be acquired through the bite of a tick regardless of where you may live, work, play or travel.
The following reports highlight the diseases, the risks, and the need for increased research; and better diagnostic tools, treatment and education:
- 2021 Estimating the frequency of Lyme disease diagnoses —United States, 2010-2018
- 2020 A National Public Health Framework for the Prevention and Control of Vector-Borne Diseases in Humans
- 2019 NIH Strategic Plan for Tickborne Disease Research
- 2018 HHS Tick-Borne Disease Working Group Report to Congress
- 2018 CDC- Vital Signs-Vector-Borne Diseases Trend Report
Federal-Health & Human Services-Tick-Borne Disease Working Group information for second report to Congress (due 2020) can be viewed here.
Diagnosis and Treatment Recommendations
Controversy surrounds the diagnostics, testing and treatment for Lyme disease making decision making between physicians and patients often contentious. Ultimately, medical decisions need to be a shared decision making process made by both fully informed physicians and patients. There are currently two standards of care for Lyme disease that both patients and physicians should be aware of:
- ILADS: Evidence Assessments and Guideline Recommendations in Lyme Disease: The Clinical Management of Known Tick Bites, Erythema Migrans Rashes and Persistent Disease, 2014
- Clinical Practice Guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), American Academy of Neurology (AAN), and American College of Rheumatology (ACR): 2020 Guidelines for the Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment of Lyme Disease
For most tick-borne diseases and conditions, successful outcome depends on early diagnosis and adequate treatment. Some diseases or conditions can become chronic, debilitating or even fatal.
The following resources are valuable tools for primary care physicians, emergency room doctors, nurses and specialists in learning how to recognize disease; and to evaluate and properly treat their patients:
- Columbia University Medical Center’s Lyme and Tick-borne Diseases Research Center :extensive information regarding Lyme and other tick-borne diseases as well as a second opinion evaluation program for Lyme
- Johns Hopkins University Lyme Disease Research Center: Patient consult and the importance of research in regard to the Lyme epidemic.
- Dr. Daniel Cameron, MD is the lead author of the 2014 ILADS evidence based treatment guidelines. Website provides thorough compilation of treatment resources, news, and updated information regarding Lyme and other tick-borne diseases as well as patient care.
- Dr. Richard Horowitz, MD: studies evaluating The Horowitz Multiple Systemic Infectious Disease Syndrome (MSIDS) Questionnaire, a screening questionnaire that is useful for providers and patients in diagnosing Lyme disease. Dr. Horowitz has written two books and published several articles to assist physicians and care of patients.
- Dr. Robert Bransfield: Neuropsychiatric Lyme Borreliosis: An Overview with a Focus on a Specialty Psychiatrist’s Clinical Practice
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): Diseases worldwide are also emerging. The CDC provides information on Tick-Borne Diseases Abroad.
- Peer-Reviewed Evidence of Persistence of Lyme Disease Spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi and Tick-Borne Diseases
Tick-Borne Disease Reporting
Currently, CDHPE requires only 7 tick-borne diseases as reportable. To report a case of tick-borne disease in Colorado, visit Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment here, or contact your County Public Health Department.
2021 CDC New data dashboard: syndromic surveillance of emergency department visits for tick bites by time, region, and age/sex.
Continuing Medical Education
- The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS)
- Lyme CME
- The Lyme Disease Association, Inc., Conferences
- LivLyme Summit Conferences
- LymeMind Conferences
Breakthroughs in treatment research. Lyme disease continues to be the most prevalent tick-borne disease in the United States and one of the most difficult to treat for a growing number of patients. Researchers across the country are focusing on new treatments for effective eradication of the demonstrated persistent Lyme bacteria.
- Dr. Ying Zhang, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Selective Essential Oils from Spice or Culinary Herbs Have High Activity against Stationary Phase and Biofilm Borrelia burgdorferi
- Dr. Eva Sapi, New Haven University: Effectiveness of Stevia rebaudiana whole leaf extract against the various morphological forms of Borrelia burgdorferi in vitro.
- Dr. Richard Horowitz: Precision medicine: retrospective chart review and data analysis of 200 patients on dapsone combination therapy for chronic Lyme disease/post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome: part 1
- Dr. Kenneth Liegner: Disulfiram (Tetraethylthiuram Disulfide) in the Treatment of Lyme Disease and Babesiosis: Report of Experience in Three Cases.
- “Repurposing” Disulfiram in the Treatment of Lyme Disease and Babesiosis: Retrospective Review of First 3 Years’ Experience in One Medical Practice
- Dr. Brian Fallon: Columbia University clinical trials with Disulfiram.
The McMaster Midwifery Research Centre is conducting a research project on the perinatal transmission of Lyme disease. This research is being done in order to gather information about Lyme disease in pregnancy and the research priorities of people who have experienced Lyme disease in pregnancy. This project will lay the groundwork for further research on perinatal transmission of Lyme disease. They are seeking women currently or previously pregnant to participate regardless of pregnancy outcome. Link to survey here.
Being informed and educated about Lyme and other tick-borne diseases and conditions is the best way of advocating for the health and well being of yourself and your family. Because the risk of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases are not widely accepted nor discussed within Colorado, reliable information is often difficult to locate. We have provided some additional resources to help you navigate the often unrecognized and complex illnesses that can be acquired through the bite of a tick regardless of where you may live, work, travel or play.
- Mary Beth Pfeiffer reports on Torrey et al. vs. Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) et al., a lawsuit filed in 2017 on behalf of Lyme disease patients who say they have been denied care and harmed under existing insurance and medical protocols. www.thefirstepidemic.com/lyme-lawsuit-1
The Lyme Disease Association, Inc.
We are and affiliate and partner with LDA, National leaders in Lyme research, education, prevention and patient support. The organization provides information and resources for patients, physicians and educators including the LymeAid4Kids fund to financially assist parents in need to get their children diagnosis and care.
National leaders in Lyme providing advocacy, education and research. They produce The Lyme Times digital publication, an excellent resource for patients, parents, physicians, and educators. They also manage the largest patient powered research database, MyLymeData.
The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS)
ILADS provides evidence based treatment guidelines. They offer a Physician Training Program and a referral program for patients seeking a medical care provider experienced with Lyme and other tick-borne illness. Their goal is to foster excellence in care for Lyme and other tick-borne disease patients, addressing the challenges in effectively diagnosing and treating tick-borne diseases.