Lyme disease is the fasting growing infectious disease in the country and New Jersey has one of the highest number of cases. Raising awareness of this disease is crucial. Too many are going undiagnosed and untreated resulting in chronic and severe illness. Testing is extremely unreliable and inaccurate. In addition, there is great controversy and a battle between the Infectious Disease Society and lyme organizations/researchers regarding treatment protocol and existence of chronic forms. Many symptoms overlap with other illnesses resulting in misdiagnoses of MS, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, arthritis, etc. Symptoms range from stiff neck, headaches, joint/muscle pain, anxiety/panic attacks, vision problems, heart palpitations, rage/personality changes, extreme fatigue, insomnia, depression, neurological problems, just to name a few. When left untreated, lyme can unfortunately become multi-systemic and leave you critically ill. If you or your child are not feeling well and have gone from doctor to doctor and know there is something wrong, research lyme and its co-infections. Demand a western blot lyme test, not an Elisa which is extremely unreliable and misses 50% of lyme cases. Make sure you get a copy of your lab results. Most people with lyme have negative test results. The CDC guidelines for lyme testing are for "surveillance purposes only." DIAGNOSIS MUST BE CLINICAL and should be by a doctor well versed in lyme treatment. You can have lyme but still have a negative test result on a western blot. The "banding" is what is most important. Most importantly, do your own research on lyme. You are your own best medical advocate. There is just so much to be learned about this mysterious and devastating disease.

Jean Springsteen
Atlantic Highlands, NJ