(Suom.huom. Millään nykyisellä testillä ei myöskään kyetä varmuudella osoittamaan sairastaako henkilö antibioottihoidon saatuaan edelleen borrelioosia vai ei.)
Families affected by Lyme disease attend forum
BY KENNY PORPORA | email@example.com
October 21, 2007
Karen Hassan sat beside her bedridden son, unsure of what was happening. Daniel, 15 at the time, was suffering from seizures and extreme fatigue, often unable to move. She thought he was going to die, she said, and spent every night beside him so he wouldn't be alone.
After a decade of confusion, Daniel Hassan of Brookhaven, now 23, was diagnosed last year with Lyme disease.
He, along with six others fighting the disease, read an account of his experience yesterday before those attending a "Children of Lyme" town-hall-style meeting at the Manorville Fire Department.
The meeting was a platform to raise awareness about Lyme disease and discuss the struggle against it. The best treatment for Lyme is a matter of debate, with some advocating long-term medicating of patients and others saying that can be harmful.
Eva Haughie, president of the Empire State Lyme Disease Association, the sponsor of yesterday's meeting, said her group and others, including the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society, believe long-term medication is needed. They cite patients whose symptoms recurred for up to 10 months after treatment began.
On the other side of the debate, the Infectious Disease Society of America and some physicians say Lyme disease can be cured in 28 days with antibiotics. Longer treatment, the society says, could cause serious illness or allow patients to develop a tolerance for the antibiotic, rendering it ineffective for future use.
Lyme disease is a potentially life-threatening, tick-borne infection. According to the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2005 there were more than 233,000 cases reported nationwide, 55,650 of which were New York residents. The disease most often affects children ages 5-14, according to the CDC report.
Commonly associated with causing cognitive dysfunction, fatigue, memory loss and stunted development, Lyme disease also can result in heart disease and depression, said Diane Blanchard, co-president of Time for Lyme Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Greenwich, Conn., which endorses long-term medication for patients.
Blanchard cited an October 2005 study by Johns Hopkins University Medical Center that showed current Lyme tests miss 75 percent of cases, saying more sophisticated diagnostic regimens are needed.
Since he was 12, Daniel Hassan told the group, he has been hospitalized five times in three Long Island hospitals. In August 2006, he underwent a spinal tap, when a doctor confirmed he had Lyme.
Listening in the audience was Jane Mills, 44, of West Hartford, Conn. Her son Stephen, 9, was bitten by a deer tick when he was five and diagnosed with Lyme disease. Subsequently, his knees swelled from babesiosis and bartonella, two infections that frequently accompany Lyme, and he spent his first-grade year in a wheelchair.
"He missed 37 days of school last year," his mother said. "One year he's at the top of his class, the next he needs to be placed in a special learning program."
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