Most Vermonters treated appropriately for Lyme disease have been cured. Unfortunately, some Vermonters treated for Lyme and tick-borne diseases have not had full recoveries. Misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis, and inadequate treatment can result in disseminated Lyme disease that can have a significant and potentially long-term impact on a person’s daily functioning, cognitive abilities, mood, and overall health.
There is controversy about the proper treatment for Lyme disease. As of February, 2016, the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) guidelines were removed from the National Guidelines Clearinghouse (NGC). Their new guidelines are expected to be published in fall 2018. The only U.S. guidelines currently in compliance with NGC standards are the peer-reviewed guidelines established in 2015 by the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS).
There is significant disagreement in the medical community about which guidelines provide the correct approach for Lyme disease treatment. The ILADS treatment guidelines are not endorsed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or the Vermont Department of Health. This controversy leaves Vermont patients and physicians to navigate conflicting recommendations.
It can be challenging to find effective treatment in Vermont for Lyme and tick-borne diseases. Some physicians believe Lyme disease is always cured by a short dose of antibiotics. Others are wary of the controversies around Lyme disease treatment. Some Vermonters have difficulty finding a medical professional trained to treat disseminated Lyme disease and co-infections, or post-treatment illness. Not all Vermonters are receiving a timely or accurate diagnosis.
There is a reasonable concern among many scientists and physicians about the use of long-term antibiotic treatment and the problem of antibiotic resistance. For some people, long-term antibiotics may be necessary. For others, complementary or alternative treatments have worked as well as (or better than) antibiotics. Discuss different treatment options with your health-care professional.