For some people, the symptoms of Lyme disease never go away after treatment. Now we have clues about why this happens, supporting the idea that “chronic Lyme” really does exist
3 June 2020
BARELY a summer day went by that I didn’t hear someone talking about Lyme disease. In the four years I lived on Long Island in New York, checking for ticks became second nature. After a walk in the woods. After a stroll in the marshy grasses by the beach. After a backyard barbecue.
I remember the first one I found on my clothing: a lone star tick, its distinctive white dot almost shining up at me from the crook of my elbow. I panicked until I found out that lone stars don’t transmit Lyme disease.
The first time I found the kind of tick that does spread the disease burrowing into my leg, I retched, then rushed to the doctor; the second time, I calmly went to the clinic to have it removed and get tested. In time, panic gave way to low-level, background worry.
Maybe I was right to be alarmed. Lyme disease is on the rise around the world. This bacterial infection spread by tick bites can lead to joint pain, fatigue, neurological damage and even temporary facial paralysis. If caught early, it is treatable – in most cases. But some people report symptoms that never go away, even after treatment.
“For some people, Lyme disease symptoms never go away”
This condition is commonly known as chronic Lyme disease. Yet we still don’t know whether Lyme disease, which is maddeningly difficult to diagnose, is the true culprit. What is clear is that a growing group of people are in pain and …