Friday, March 20, 2009

North Carolina is not a Lyme State

When Anna saw her pediatrician back in the fall, Lynette mentioned to Dr. Adams that Anna had had the bulls eye rash. Dr. Adams brushed it off and said that it was a good thing that we don't live in a Lyme state.

Anna went to see an infectious disease doctor in Burlington on Tuesday, with positive tests in hand. The doctor disputed the results and refused to treat her.

Lynette called the pediatrician to get her input on Anna's positive test results. The response was that the tests are inconclusive since we do not live in a Lyme endemic area.

We are all learning now that Lyme infected ticks have been instructed to stop their advancement at the borders of our state. Whether they choose to enter from South Carolina, Tennessee, or Virginia, they are not welcomed here since we are not a Lyme state.

There was an article in the Statesville Record and Landmark this past Sunday about Lyme disease. The article discusses the general Lyme disease controversy as well as the cases of two local women who suffered from the disease. Here is a link:

I have come across two separate Lyme advocacy groups in North Carolina via their websites. One of them is the North Carolina Lyme Disease Foundation. There website is I was not able to find a lot of detailed information on the site. Another group that I found is the Tick-Borne Infections Council of North Carolina. Their website is The website has a little more information, but it isn't the most current information that I've seen.

An independent documentary about Lyme disease called Under Our Skin has recently been released. It is both enlightening and horrifying to see. There is even a quote from a Lyme sufferer in the movie who says that his doctor told him that North Carolina is not a Lyme state. I encourage you to visit the website and watch the trailer for the movie:

There is also a Store link on the page that allows you to purchase a copy of the film. There is actually a gala tonight at the Ballantyne Village Theater in Charlotte where Under Our Skin will be shown. It's the prototype if you will for other pre-release showings of the film meant to create awareness of the Lyme disease situation. The official theatrical release of the film is scheduled for July.

I got a response from NC State Representative Pete Brunstetter to the letter that I sent him regarding Lyme disease in North Carolina. Apparently the current legislative cycle is beyond the point where new legislation can be submitted. That doesn't mean I'm going to quit bringing it up. He also indicated that he was not going to drop the issue. I am also working on our representation in Washington. There is current legislation in a House committee to establish appropriate legal standards of Lyme disease and the proper approach to diagnosis and treatment. This bill has been submitted twice before and died in committee. I will be contacting the members of the Energy and Commerce committee to request that they take action on this bill.

To emphasize the point that Lyme does not exist in North Carolina I want you to look at some information gathered by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. I know I have posted this in a previous blog, but here it is again for good measure. The website shows incidence of various diseases by county in North Carolina from 2000 to 2005. After opening the link, search for LYME DIS.

The CDC estimates that Lyme disease is under reported by 90%. Simple math tells us that the the 552 number reported as a total is more accurately above 5000. Furthermore, the CDC also reported that Lyme in North Carolina increased 71% between 2006 and 2007. Taken all of these figures together, one can estimate that the number of cases that will be reported in North Carolina for 2009 is in the neighborhood of 50,000.

Good thing we're not a Lyme state.

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