Thursday, February 24, 2011

Lyme Disease - the Secret Pandemic Sweeping America - Part 3.


Attacked by Lyme disease - When you become the Victim!

Before I get into the moment I knew something was terribly wrong, let me give you a brief overview of my background. From the time I was a kid growing up in Iowa I loved the outdoors, farms, ranches, camping out, hiking and playing in the woods. Being outside was the highlight of the day.

Then came Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and even camping out on family vacations. I was at peace outdoors. In high school and college I was a jock and among my passions was golf, so much so that I even worked at golf courses when I wasn't playing, yet more exposure to the outdoors.

Once I made it through early childhood I was a healthy kid suffering only injuries related to sports and being a kid. Only once in my life since I was a kid was I hospitalized, back in 1964 when I had an emergency appendectomy at the University of Arizona.

Since then I was only at an emergency room twice, for observation for exhaustion in the 1970's, and for straining my lower lumbar in the early 1980's when I landscaped my yard with 36 tons of Belgian block. For most of my life I have owned dogs, a carrier of ticks.

I continued to play golf, softball and basketball well into the 1980's and golf forever until today. Living in Iowa, Nebraska, California, Virginia, New Jersey, Kentucky and Maryland I always liked the outdoors, spent hours creating a natural landscape where ever I lived, and enjoying the sun. All of which exposed me to more and more ticks.

Medically, I started following the teaching of the traditional Hopi Indians in 1964 when I first visited their reservation in Arizona and spent much time ever since visiting and studying this unique nation of original Americans. By the 1980's I got to know an old Chinese herbalist in NYC's Chinatown and added this discipline to what I learned from the Hopi medicine people and elders.

I stopped taking vaccinations long ago, stopped taking antibiotics and pain killers, because of what I learned about how we are destroying our immune systems. Over the years my diet became rather good and my health was fine and I have not needed the service of a doctor in over 26 years. Fact is I never had a health insurance claim during that time though some jobs provided comprehensive health coverage.

I paid very close attention to my body and how it reacted to food, liquids, and life, meaning mastering stress in my life, and I had some very stressful jobs. To a nutritionist I had bad eating habits because I only ate once a day. To western medicine I had horrible sleeping habits as I never seemed to need more than about 3 hours sleep a night. Once I went to a sleep clinic but they could find no harmful effect from the lack of sleep.

This was how I functioned for 63 years until about four weeks ago.

The first signs of trouble. One morning in late April of this year I woke up and felt like I had twisted my hips during sleep and pinched a nerve. The pain was severe and I took it easy through the day. The next morning I woke up and felt the pinched nerve had caused a second pinched nerve at the base of my neck just between the shoulders. Within 48 hours I could barely move my arms, shoulders, lower back and legs from the severe pain.

In other words, there were none of the early detection signs of Lyme disease but several of the late stage or chronic stage signs of Lyme disease. This spring I had encountered ticks working on the yard and I had removed ticks from my dog almost every day. But there was no redness from any bites and they had never bothered me before.

My previous exposure to friends with Lyme disease and intense study I had made of it caused me to consider the possibility I might have it as I could barely walk within 48 hours. Then both hands went numb, as if frozen, and I lost all sense of touch from my wrists down. It felt like my hands were frozen, and I knew that feeling from winter blizzards on the Great Plains. No pain, just numbness.

By the third day I was still forcing myself, at great pain, to walk my dog for one mile early each morning but I noticed motor problems. When I first awoke I experienced extreme vertigo and when I tried to walk I felt my brain signals to my leg muscles were being interrupted and had a great deal of difficulty walking anything close to normal.

Fact was, probably because I have some background in theater and television production, I reminded myself at times of the Scarecrow character from the Wizard of Oz. My brain could not get my legs to do what I wanted. It was a disconnected feeling like when the Scarecrow tried to walk or dance. Once I started forcing myself to walk I became like the Tin Man and was very stiff and disjointed.

By the third day I felt little pain unless I moved but when I did move I became exhausted easily. The frozen feeling remained in my hands but my temperature remained normal and other people said my hands did not feel cold.

I began to think it might be Lyme disease except I had skipped all the early stage signs from the redness of a tick bite to fever, flu like symptoms, exhaustion, headaches, and other symptoms. If I had it I was exhibiting what I knew to be late stage symptoms which seemed quite strange to me.

Within a few days I was in for testing and though all my body measurements were normal, I had a serious problem because I could barely walk. Lab tests of blood and saliva indicated two markers for Lyme disease and from that moment on I focused on what to do next.

Because of the unexpected appearance of Lyme in my system I focused on the late stage symptoms and knew every thing I was experiencing fit the disease. Of course it also fit some of the many diseases I have discussed earlier as it mimics up to 300 infections. Caution about drawing a conclusion was eliminated when the testing showed the two Lyme markers.

As I said earlier, long ago I gave up antibiotics and pain killers because of the damage they do to our immune system. Other than providing short term relief from the bacteria, I had my doubts about the long term value of treatment with drugs anyway.

I was committed to finding the best treatment using natural products that built up the immune system rather than destroying it like antibodies can do. Because of the seemingly advanced stage of the disease, which I could not explain at the time, and the danger that a failure to address the problems quickly might leave me with permanent damage, I focused on two possible paths of treatment.

One was a new treatment I learned about in the past year that can be found at based on the research by a Lyme disease victim who exhausted all conventional treatments over a 13 year period with no improvement in wiping out the disease. His research identified a heretofore unknown aspect to Lyme disease, that the bacteria seemed to work with a variety of parasites in your body. If both the bacteria and parasites were not treated together you might never fully recover from the disease.

After all his years of trial and error only one treatment seemed to attack both the bacteria and parasites and that was a combination of pure sea salt and Vitamin C taken in large quantities that attacked both bacteria and parasites by restoring your immune system. The instruction was to work up to 1 gram of salt and 1 gram of Vitamin C for every 10 pounds of body weight up to a maximum of 18 grams of each per day. Since I weighed slightly over 200 pounds I had to consume the 18 gram maximum at full strength.

I turned to my nutritionist and he said the best form of unprocessed salt, without any additives like aluminum, silica or iodine, was Celtic salt because it retained the most natural minerals. I was to take 18 grams per day, slightly more than three tablespoons per day.

For Vitamin C at the high levels required he recommended BIO-C which provides the Vitamin C through a proprietary blend of fruits, herbs, sprouts, and extracts whose diversity would be more amenable to the body at such high levels. I would need to take about 10 capsules a day.

However, because I was at the advanced stage I decided I also wanted to use another natural compound that also had recently achieved remarkable results in treating Lyme. Because the clinical work was done in Equator it was not recognized by the US which raises all sorts of questions about just how bad the CDC and FDA want to attack the problem.

Using Cat's Claw, a vine that grows in the Peru rainforest, there have been stunning results supplementing your damaged immune system. Cats Claw (Uncaria tomentosa) is a South American vine that works its way up the jungle canopy using sharp thorns on its stems. Many varieties of this plant are harvested by the Ashaninka people of central Peru, but there is one variety in particular called Samento that they value above all the rest.

This incredible plant, which has been used medicinally for more than 2,000 years by the indigenous people of the region, is now the subject of intensive investigation by scientists all around the world. Clinical evidence has shown that Samento is of great benefit for inflammatory and auto-immune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and asthma. The plant is also showing great promise as a breakthrough treatment for Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome and other degenerative illnesses. In addition, it is an ideal herb for strengthening the immune system.

I ordered Samento through the Internet and as soon as it arrives I will be using it along with the salt and Vitamin C treatment already underway. So there you have it, the two types of natural treatment I am using and intend to use to attack the advanced stage of the disease. The combination attacks all the flaws I found in current treatment of Lyme disease from the failure to recognize the parasites to the use of antibiotics which destroys the immune system, the very thing that could have protected us from the bacteria in the first place.

After my first week on the salt and Vitamin C the feeling has returned to two fingers on each hand though the freezing cold sensation still remains. I have noticed a slight improvement in the nerves in my lower back as walking has become somewhat easier but I expect the Samento to attack the inflamed nerves much more aggressively when I start it next week.

The nerves at the base of my neck have relaxed a bit as well and the shoulders have loosened up although it is expected there will be some problems when the parasites, which are being driven out of the body by the salt and Vitamin C, start counter-attacking before they will be forced to flee. Right now the muscles in my upper arms are sore for no reason other than a parasite attack.

Much of the feeling of vertigo has gone although when I walk the morning mile by the end my fatigue level is such that I can feel the vertigo start to return. Too much continuous walking or too much continuous sitting seems to have the same impact.

There is no problem with my diet and digestion though I am trying to eat fresh and balanced foods and to eat at least two meals a day. Sleep is normal without pain. Throughout the whole ordeal I have felt no headaches, had no problem keeping my mind functioning normally, and do not feel any fatigue as long as I do not engage in excessive physical activity.

The big problems are the pain in the arm muscles which is constant, difficulty standing initially, and the numb fingers. When I pick things up I cannot feel pressure so I drop them often. Don't use the good china. And when I type the lack of feeling results in hitting a lot of double letters which I try to catch in edits so I apologize for any mistakes in the text. Finally, the lack of feeling is so complete that you can touch hot things and not know it or have the shower way too hot for the rest of your body. You just have to be careful.

The salt saturation in my body has resulted in some interesting changes, almost as if you are spending a lot of time swimming in the salty ocean. Dead skin peels off faster, your complexion clears up, and you have the feeling of salt in your eyes as if swimming.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lyme Disease - the Secret Pandemic Sweeping America - Part 2.


My first article was an introduction to the Lyme disease, a review of some of the misunderstandings, and acknowledgement that I have had two Lyme markers detected indicating the disease is present. You can find it through the following link, http:/// in my newspaper, the Coltons Point Times.

This article (Part 2.) will expand on the lack of reliable data on Lyme disease and the misconceptions regarding the bacteria. Part 3. will discuss the symptoms I exhibited to indicate the latent bacteria became activated and began attacking my body and Part 4. will discuss the treatment I am taking to attempt to fight off the Lyme Disease as well as the results of my treatment.

However, let me first explain my reason and approach to this series. By training and experience I am an investigative reporter and though my newspaper experience was limited I have spent my life in various positions and projects that enabled me to use this background.

While I have an interest in science and have been involved in some extraordinary scientific projects I am not a scientist but a reporter who attempts to interpret what the scientists are trying to tell us. My role is to translate science into understandable terms that people will know. On occasion I will make mistakes when attempting this so do not hold me to the highest scientific standards in reporting.

What I will do is cut through the technical and scientific language to tell you the truth. I will also tell you what makes no sense and where the real truth may lie. Unlike scientists, I begin with no preconceived notions nor required protocols but with an open mind to find the truth. Finally, I do not limit where the truth might lead me and try and stay open to information that is not relevant to existing medical reports but makes sense if we recognize that existing information may be wrong.

As for Lyme disease, my first conflict with published information was that I cannot accept that Lyme disease, or more specifically the bacteria associated with it, is something new since the 1970's nor that it could be caused solely by a deer tick bite. Also it made no sense that it was unique to Northern America and Europe.

The following information was extracted from a book, 2008 Lyme Disease Annual Report by Bryan Rosner and other contributing writers.

For some reason, Americans tend to assume that Lyme Disease is isolated to the United States. It is understood that other diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and hepatitis, are prevalent throughout the world—but Lyme Disease is perceived to be an exclusively American disease. The reality is that Lyme Disease is a major problem all around the globe.

Understanding the vast prevalence of this infection is necessary for a proper perspective of the disease. Only when we recognize its true reach, severity, and ability to spread, will we be equipped to properly face Lyme Disease. An accurate understanding of the enormity of Lyme Disease gives patients enough respect for the disease to take it seriously and fight to heal, and gives practitioners and researchers the perspective necessary to allocate much-needed funds and resources to its study. Recent research confirms the presence of Lyme Disease on all corners of the globe. Below is a brief summary of current findings.

In England, the British public has been warned by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) to carefully protect themselves from tick bites due to a “sharp rise in the number of the blood-sucking parasites and increased cases of Lyme Disease in Hampshire, Dorset, and Berkshire.” The increase in tick population has been blamed on a “particularly wet and mild summer.” According to the HPA, “Lyme Disease is a highly infectious disease which is transmitted through tick bites and can lead to blindness, paralysis, and even death if left undiagnosed.” Britons are advised to protect themselves by “wearing trousers, using insect repellent and checking their skin for ticks” after visits to the countryside. The HPA also notes that “incidents of Lyme Disease have increased by 90% since 2006 across the UK, and New Forest, South Downs, Dorset, and Berkshire have now been named as tick hot-spots.”

The Department of Molecular Biology at Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden, released a study in 2007 which stated that “The reported geographical distribution of Lyme Disease is constantly increasing in Sweden.” The report cites findings which show that birds play a key role in the spread of Lyme Disease due to their long distance dispersal and their role as reservoir hosts for Borrelia. In addition to Lyme Disease in Sweden, Swedish researchers also discovered that sea birds in the Arctic region of Norway carry Ixodes uria ticks infected with Lyme Disease, specifically the Borrelia garinii strain. It has long been known that Borrelia garinii is one of the more common forms of Lyme Disease on the European continent, and this information shows the spread of this strain to new geographical areas.

In collaboration with U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) researchers, Russian scientists set out to determine which types of bacterial agents are found in the North Western region of Russia. The type of tick examined was Ixodes persulcatus. Researchers discovered the following:

Altogether, 27.7% of ticks were infected with at least one organism, while the DNA of two or more bacteria was found in 11.8% of ticks tested. The highest average prevalence of Anaplasmataceae (20.8%) was detected in ticks from Arkhangel'sk province, while the prevalence in ticks from Novgorod province and St. Petersburg, respectively, was 7.3% and 12.2%. Only Ehrlichia muris DNA was identified by DNA sequencing. In comparison, the prevalence of B. burgdorferi DNA was 16.6%, 5.8%, and 24.5% in the respective locations.

The Russian researchers conclude with this statement: “Since I. persulcatus is so commonly infected with multiple agents that may cause human diseases, exposure to these ticks poses significant risk to human health in this region.”

Researchers in Germany studied the influence of preventative measures on the risk of being bitten by a tick and suffering from Lyme Disease in children attending kindergarten in forested regions of Germany. Fifty-three schools were studied, encompassing 1,707 children. Researchers conclude that "children in forest kindergartens are at a considerable risk of tick bites and Lyme Disease."

In Poland, the Department of Occupational Biohazards investigated the prevalence of Lyme Disease bacteria in ticks collected from wooded areas. 1,813 ticks from six districts were examined by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Not only did researchers discover that a significant portion of the ticks were infected, they also were surprised to find that many ticks were infected with multiple strains of Lyme Disease bacteria, including Borrelia afzelii, Borrelia garinii, and a new yet-unnamed strain, “Borrelia b.s.1.”

A Portuguese University, in a study of climate change, discovered that warmer and increasingly variable weather may result in an increased incidence of vector- borne diseases, including malaria, schistosomiasis, leishmaniasis, Lyme Disease, and Mediterranean spotted fever.

A fascinating new report from the microbiology department at Raigmore Hospital in Scotland states that at least nine different strains of Borrelia have been documented in Scotland, including Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia sensu stricto. Additionally, a report appeared on September 15, 2007, in the North Scotland Press and Journal, entitled "Bloodsucking Ticks Blamed as Lethal Lyme Disease Cases Soar." This newspaper article not only documents the dramatic increase of Lyme Disease cases in Scotland, it also provides evidence that Lyme Disease can be fatal if not treated adequately. The article uses the word "rocketed" to describe the dramatic increase in cases over the past decade. Dr. Ken Oates of Health Protection Scotland observes that "There has been a genuine rise. Nobody can really say why. I would guess a summer like this which is warm and wet provides favorable conditions. Up to one in five ticks can carry Lyme Disease in Scotland."

As far away as Croatia, researchers are finding Lyme Disease. Amazingly, 3,317 cases were reported from 1987 to 2003 in Croatia. Northwestern Croatia showed the highest incidence. According to a report published by the Department of Public Health, "the clinical picture of Lyme Borreliosis in Croatia is dominated by erythema migrans, followed by neurological manifestations."

In Switzerland, according to researchers, "the incidence of tick-borne encephalitis has been clearly increasing since 2004, and this is caused mostly by Lyme Disease."

In Italy, 24 cases of Lyme Disease were documented over the last year. Keep in mind, the actual number of cases is probably much higher due to inadequate testing and diagnosis.

And let us not forget Canada. The Canadian Center for Disease Control states that "the black-legged tick, Ixodes scapularis, has a wide geographical distribution in Ontario, Canada, with a detected range extending at least as far north as the 50th parallel, and four out of five regions of Ontario affected."

Additionally, "The Lyme Disease spirochete was detected in 12.9% of I. scapularis adult ticks." Also according to Canadian authorities, "characterization of B. burgdorferi in Canada displays a connecting link to common strains of Lyme Disease found in the northeastern United States."

According to the Vector-Borne Disease Laboratory in British Columbia, "In 1994, British Columbia was declared an endemic region for Lyme Borreliosis."

In Alberta, Lyme Disease has been found to be common in rabbit ticks.

The Department of Medicine at McGill University, Montreal, notes in a recent report that "Lyme Disease is an expanding community health issue."

The poor recognition of Lyme Disease by the medical establishment is not a phenomena limited to the United States: On September 17, 2007, CBS News Canada reported the story of approximately 100 Lyme Disease sufferers who gathered on Parliament Hill in Canada to get the attention of Canadian physicians. The aim of the gathering was to get better testing for the disease and more federal money devoted to research—many in the group say they were misdiagnosed by their physicians.

Amazingly, according to the CBS report, "Lyme Disease is not a nationally reportable disease in Canada, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), meaning there are no statistics available on its prevalence." Yet, although not reportable, CBS goes on to state that "Borrelia burgdorferi is predominantly found in parts of British Columbia, southern and eastern Ontario, southeastern Manitoba, and parts of Nova Scotia."

Try to figure out that contradiction: not reportable yet found practically everywhere. The CBS article concludes with the story of a Canadian professor who, after suspecting Lyme Disease, was forced to travel to the United States and pay more than $15,000 out-of-pocket for treatment.

Now, with unrelenting persecution of Lyme doctors in the United States, appropriate Lyme Disease treatment may be harder and harder to find…anywhere in the world. The research identifying Lyme Disease in Canada goes on and on, with over 83 official, published studies on Lyme Disease in Canada. The Canadian Lyme Disease Association can be visited at

In my first article I told of the ability of the Lyme bacteria to mimic many other diseases. Another very important fact to remember is that Lyme symptoms can also mimic many other diseases as well and that both the "early stage" symptoms and the later "chronic" stage symptoms are not consistent. In other words, your body can react in a variety of ways when the Lyme disease is activated in you.

This also means the bacteria can reside in you in a dormant and hidden stage for years before it may be activated. As we learn more and more about the disease it becomes more and more obvious that we know very little and most clinical research has been extremely limited to the early assumptions that only a tick transmitted disease that breaks out in a circular pattern from the bite is Lyme disease.

Hardly. Follow up studies have shown that as many as 85% of the cases do not show any signs of the inflammation from the tick bite and most detected bites are for new infection, not dormant infection already in your body.

There are studies that have shown the bacteria itself, Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb), has been around for many centuries and a hypothesis was offered that Bbsl may be the protective agent of juvenile and adult arthritis in Louisiana Tchefuncte Indians between 500 BC and 300 AD. If so it will revolutionize how the disease it viewed and treated. Strains of the bacteria have been found in humans in 30 countries or more on six continents and additional islands.

As for the ticks, there is more than enough evidence that it can be spread by a variety of insects and animals and even between humans. There are no studies characterizing immune reactivity to the bacteria in untreated patients from non-endemic regions and where symptoms have been present for one year to decades. Consistently, most serious studies have examined and tested only patients from limited geographic areas where high tick infection rate and acute human disease coincide. The immune reaction of infected patients not meeting 'Lyme disease' criteria have fallen outside rigorous scrutiny. However, studies have shown conclusively that a group of Bbsl-infected humans was not inoculated transdermally but rather acquired their disease congenitally or gestationally.

That means the human may well be the most likely 'vector' for Bbsl transfer to other humans. The label 'Lyme disease' has become, by convention, a semantic boundary that excludes consideration that an infectious agent responsible for a zoonosis may also exist independently as a non-zoonosis.

CDC-defining criteria do not address human congenital transfer and deny without proof that sexual transfer occurs. This mindset assures that Bbsl cases falling outside 'Lyme disease' criteria have not been considered in most research, nor reported to local health agencies. Thus the CDC position on intra-human Bbsl transmission is that 'Lyme disease bacteria are not transmitted from person-to-person', yet current human and veterinary data make this position indefensible.

Finally, a pregnant mother with a dormant and hidden Lyme bacteria could then transmit this to her infant passing on the bacteria to the next generation at birth. Thus a host of illnesses in infants may be a direct result of Lyme disease bacteria, undetected and untreated, mimicking other diseases. Many can be fatal.

In plain English, there are hundreds of identified strains of the Lyme bacteria so far and the method of transmission is far beyond what the establish criteria allow for Lyme disease. It is highly probable that the bacteria has existed for centuries if not more and that millions and millions of people throughout the world are infected. When the bacteria becomes active most are misdiagnosed but a far greater number are carriers of the dormant bacteria which could become active at any time.

That is far closer to the truth than anything the government can prove at this time and may help explain the previous unknown reasons for the explosion in certain diseases such as Autism, MS and other bacteria based infections as well as the explosion in a variety of mental diseases and problems like attention deficit disorder (ADD), antisocial personality, Anorexia Nervosa, Autism and Aspergers syndrome, depression and Fibromyalgia. It would also explain the failure to successfully treat Alzheimer's Disease.

The bacteria providing the foundation to Lyme's Disease can be detected in over 300 infections.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Lyme Disease - the Secret Pandemic Sweeping America - Part 1.


May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month. With the focus by the Obama Administration on health 

care in America and my many responses that propping up the current system makes little sense if we are just making the flaws a lot bigger, I thought my current predicament might give you some first hand insight into the problems we face in health care.

Recently I was diagnosed as having the symptoms of Lyme disease. It was not unexpected as I live in Southern Maryland along the Potomac River just above the Chesapeake Bay where it is hot, humid, and ideal conditions for the disease.

Adding to the problem is the fact we have had an extremely wet past year in an area that already gets more than enough rain per year. Compound that with a short winter with record snow and cold and a very warm spring and all the animal and plant life is totally out of sync with normal patterns.

By early April the first ticks appeared and by May the poison ivy and poison sumac had become far more virulent than any year since I moved here. However, ticks have always been a huge problem and if you have dogs you will have ticks. No flea or tick treatment I found kept them off the animals the past three years.

So it was just a matter of time that the right tick would be on me, especially the tiny deer tick known to transmit the disease. However, I was not unprepared as I first encountered the disease when I lived in New Jersey and worked in New York City of all places. Lyme disease was first discovered in Lyme, Connecticut 1975, suspected of being transmitted by ticks in 1978, but remained a mystery until confirmed in 1982.

In 1992 my boss, who had a house in rural Connecticut got the disease. He underwent massive treatment with antibiotics and it was not until almost a year later that he no longer showed signs of the disease. Yet another friend in New Jersey contracted the disease while jogging through the beautiful countryside about the same year and she was nearly bedridden for a year before recovering.

That got my attention. This disease had no limits, it could strike the rich or poor, the healthy and office bound, and in most cases you could not even see the tiny ticks infecting you. It is an infectious disease and in the years since has spread like wildfire through humans. However, the medical authorities have always been way behind the times in diagnosing and treating this disease.

In addition to ticks, it has been learned that Borrelia, the bacteria in Lyme disease, may be carried and transmitted by fleas, mosquitoes and mites. Also it is not exclusively vector-borne. Humans have been known to pass the disease through breast-feeding and blood transfusions. Also the possibility exists that Lyme disease can be food infection.

With the help of two informative web sites with much more current research on the Lyme disease, and, I have been able to provide you with a far more accurate picture of the disease and what it means to you.

Lyme disease, or lyme borreliosis, is an emerging infectious disease caused by at least three species of bacteria belonging to the genus Borrelia. Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato is the main cause of Lyme disease in the United States, whereas Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii cause most European cases.

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in the Northern Hemisphere. Borrelia is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected ticks belonging to a few species of the genus Ixodes ("hard ticks"). Early symptoms may include fever, headache, fatigue, depression, and a characteristic circular skin rash called erythema. Left untreated, later symptoms may involve the joints, heart, and central nervous system. In most cases, it is thought the infection and its symptoms can be eliminated by antibiotics, especially if the illness is treated early.

There are over 100 strains of Borrelia burgdorferi in the United States, 300 strains worldwide and 5 subspecies of Borrelia burgdorferi. This diversity is thought to contribute to the antigenic variability of the spirochete and its ability to evade the immune system and antibiotic therapy, leading to chronic infection. Lyme disease bacteria has been reported for years in across Europe, Russia, Canada and throughout the world.

In the past late, delayed, or inadequate treatment was thought to lead to the more serious symptoms, which can be disabling and difficult to treat. Occasionally, symptoms such as arthritis persist after the infection has been eliminated by antibiotics, prompting suggestions that Borrelia causes autoimmunity.

Some groups have argued that "chronic" Lyme disease is responsible for a range of medically unexplained symptoms beyond the recognized symptoms of late Lyme disease, and that additional, long-term antibiotic treatments are needed. Other groups argue that antibiotics are the wrong form of treatment and can serve to mask the results temporarily but an even more dangerous parasite exists with the bacteria and the parasite can form a cocoon around the bacteria and preserve it through the antibiotic treatment.

As far as the antibiotic treatment, of four controlled trials of long-term ceftriaxone and doxycycline treatment in patients with ongoing symptoms, two found no benefit, and two found inconsistent benefits with significant side effects and risks from the antibiotic treatment.

Most expert groups, including the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the American Academy of Neurology, have found that existing scientific evidence does not support a role for Borrelia nor ongoing antibiotic treatment in such cases. However, the subject is controversial, with some doctors, patient advocacy groups, and politicians continuing to argue that long-term treatment is beneficial. This dispute has led to legal action over treatment guidelines, as well as harassment and death threats made against physicians who will not acknowledge "chronic" Lyme disease as a legitimate diagnosis.

Lyme Disease is far more complex than what the public has been told and the number of reported cases, though tripling every couple of years and spreading at a rate 7 times faster than that of AIDS, is officially estimated to reach 300,000 new cases this year alone. However, other evidence suggests this represents less than 10% of all cases.

What is clear is that Lyme disease is the fastest-growing epidemic in the world. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Ga., USA, affirms that "there is considerable underreporting" of Lyme disease, maintaining that the actual infection rate may be 1.8 million, 10 times higher than the 180,000 cases currently reported. Nick Harris, Ph.D., director of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), states "Lyme is grossly under-reported. In the U.S., we probably have about 200,000 cases per year."

Considering vector, congenital and sexual transfer, it is estimated that 15.5% of the global population, nearly 1 billion people, could now be infected with Borrelia. The Sierra Integrative Medicine Clinic in Reno, Nev. states that "Authorities estimate that up to 90 percent of the population could be carrying the Lyme spirochete and that Lyme is a factor in over 50 percent of chronic illnesses."

Katrina Tang, MD, HMD, founder and director of research at the Sierra Integrative Medicine Clinic, states that Lyme disease eludes doctors because of its ability to mimic many other diseases. For example, according to an informal study conducted by the American Lyme Disease Alliance (ALDA), most patients diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) are actually suffering from Lyme disease. In a study of 31 patients diagnosed with CFS, 28 patients, or 90.3%, were found to be ill as a result of Lyme.

Paul Fink, MD, MS, past president of the American Psychiatric Association, has acknowledged that Lyme disease can contribute to every psychiatric disorder in the Diagnostic Symptoms Manual IV (DSM-IV). This manual is used to diagnose psychiatric conditions such as attention deficit disorder (ADD), antisocial personality, Anorexia Nervosa, Autism and Aspergers syndrome (a form of autism), to name a few.

Lyme Borreliosis causes, mimics, is manifested as, is misdiagnosed as, or is a contributing factor to more than 300 conditions, such as:
Acute coronary syndrome
Acute Meningitis
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
Alzheimer's Disease
Bell's Palsy
Bipolar Disorder
Brain Tumor
Brown recluse spider bite
Cardiac Disease
Coronary aneurysm
Fetal death
Infectious Mononucleosis
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
Multiple Sclerosis
Peripheral Facial Palsy
Rheumatoid Arthritis
Sudden Infant Death (SIDS)
Tourette's Syndrome

As you can see, even within the western medical practice there is widely disputed and conflicting information regarding the cause, composition, status, extent and treatment for this disease. New information, especially from foreign countries where response to medical issues is often dealt with much faster than in America with our institutionalized medicine, challenges are more pronounced.

In subsequent articles I will detail the effect the symptoms of the disease have had on me, my approach to treatment, and the results of treatment as I try to overcome the various manifestations of the disease I have experienced. It is hoped this experience and reporting on the progress will give you a better idea of what your alternatives are should you share the same fate and experience the devastating impact of the disease if you get caught in the pandemic.