Intended for healthcare professionals

Editorials

Lyme disease: time for a new approach?

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h6520 (Published 03 December 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6520

Re: Lyme disease: time for a new approach?

I am a patient. I had no Erythema Migrans but knew I had been bitten by a tick fell, so when I fell ill in early 2011 I kept a symptom diary. As a result I was labelled "anxious" by a locum GP. It was four months before I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease (seropositive). I received extended antibiotic therapy under the care of my own excellent, compassionate, open minded, and Lyme-experienced GP. During the most acute phase of my illness, even with an understanding employer, I was forced to retire from a useful career. I am now over 65, fully retired, and largely recovered - but occasionally (cyclically) symptomatic.

I remain open minded about the cause(s) of this. Lyme is not reported, except under RIDDOR or if contracted in military service. Cases treated on clinical presentation, not serology, are excluded from the records. We therefore struggle with a reliable measure of UK case numbers. There is uncertainty about the effectiveness of approved antibiotic treatments (type, dose, mode of administration and duration of treatment). I find it hard to understand is why, with a continually refreshed cohort of UK sufferers, and many thousands of past-treated (like me) patients it is not possible to have a better idea of the effectiveness of the standard (and other GP administered) treatments and outcomes. I appreciate the resource implications, but is it beyond DoH and Scottish Health authorities to initiate desktop research that might throw a light on some of these uncertainties. The data exist.

Competing interests: No competing interests

01 February 2016
Andrew Gold
Retired
None
Seaton, Devon