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Infectious Diseases

Potential Lyme Disease

03/21/2002

Question:

Hi I have been disabled since 1993 due to what seemed like the flu. It affected my muscles and nervous system and I cannot tolerate more than 20 min. of exercise at a time. I cannot stand on hard surfaces such as brick or tile without getting extreme fatigue and muscle and neurological symptoms.A doctor at Brigham & Women`s Hospital in Boston called it Post Viral Polyneuritis. An MRI showed nothing and every doctor I`ve been to treats me like Im crazy-which I am not! 8 years into this, I went to a lyme informational meeting in my neighborhood and learned that I might have this. My tests came back positive on one and equivocal on the other. The doctor I see said he does think its lyme, but that there is nothing I can do for it now. Some say long term antibiotic treatment is the answer, but I`m afraid of that. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I also question myself, whether its really lyme that did this to me even though I live in Eastern MA and lyme disease is rampant.Thanks,

Answer:

Your problem, in general, is not uncommon. Because the diagnostic tests for Lyme are not good, the disease is not well understood, and treatment is controversial and must be individualized, many patients are left unsatisfied with the advice they are given. The best way to deal with this is to find a lyme clinic that deals with these problems daily. If you are in Eastern Mass., Boston must have such a clinic. If you have lyme, there may be treatment for you, but this would need to be an individual decision. The clinic should have a person trained in Infectious Diseases with an interest in Lyme and access to other specialties to deal with issues related to the complex symptoms (such as chronic fatigue, depression, and others) that are always a consideration for diagnosis and treatment. As a suggestion, call the Medical Schools in the area and ask for such a clinic.

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Response by:

Gary   Roselle, MD Gary Roselle, MD
Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati