Public Health England (PHE) has formally announced that it will coordinate the development of new UK guidance on the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease. A multi-disciplinary team – involving infectious disease specialists, microbiologists, neurologists, GPs and patient groups – will carry out the work. The proposal was raised informally last October at PHE’s first Lyme disease conference, at which The Countess of Mar applauded the PHE’s willingness to involve patients. As Lady Mar pointed out, the experience of patient support groups would contribute to the resolution of uncertainties that remain about Lyme; in particular, the effectiveness of diagnosis methods, and the differences of opinion about the usefulness of long-term antibiotic treatment.
Lyme disease is caused by Borrelia bacteria transmitted by tick-bites. There have been suggestions for many years that a subgroup of people with ME/CFS have undiagnosed Lyme disease, particularly those who live in areas of the world where tick-bites are common. Equally, there have been concerns about misdiagnosis or over-diagnosis of Lyme disease by non-specialists. Given the many uncertainties, the creation of the multi-disciplinary group is a welcome development.
Further info (full text)
Lyme Disease: is there any overlap with ME? (Interaction 2006)
Diagnosis and Management of Lyme Disease (American Family Physician 2012)
Blacklegged tick, the primary vector for Lyme disease in the US (Wikimedia Commons)