Work Title: Beating Lyme: Understanding and Treating This Complex and Often Misdiagnosed Disease
Work Author(s): Constance A. Bean
320 pages, Softcover $15.95
Reviewer: Kristine Morris
Currently the fastest-growing infectious disease in the US and increasing by a minimum of eight percent each year, (under-reporting makes it likely that ten times this number is more realistic), Lyme disease is transmitted to a human or animal victim by the bite of an infected deer tick no larger than a poppy seed. The tick lives in the landscape surrounding homes, schools, and playgrounds across the country, and its bite can cause a bacterial infection that invades multiple body systems with devastating results. First diagnosed in the US in Lyme, Connecticut, in 1975, the disease mimics symptoms of many other serious illnesses including Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, amyotropic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease), Parkinson's Disease, lupus, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia syndrome. Testing for Lyme is unreliable, making diagnosis difficult, and treatment is hindered by difficulties in obtaining insurance coverage and compounded by the political controversy among members of the medical establishment.
Author Constance A. Bean suggests that "If people died from Lyme, as occurs with AIDS, the Lyme epidemic would not likely remain out of public view." If the illness manifested immediately after a tick bite, if symptoms were easily visible and consistent, if it were passed through contaminated food or water, or if it were contagious, it would be handled differently. Instead, the epidemic is largely going...