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Erroneous tests cause delayed treatment of Lyme disease

One man's 10-month ordeal trying to obtain an accurate diagnosis and treatment of his Lyme disease symptoms might help the 300,000 people afflicted with the illness in New York and in other parts of the United States each year. The delayed treatment was due, in part, to the inability of tests available in the U.S. to accurately identify the presence of the disease that is transmitted by up to 18 different tick species.

While visiting Europe, an American college professor was bitten by a tick. He began to develop telltale symptoms of Lyme disease within a couple of days. The symptoms included a rash, fever, headaches and a cough. The test usually ordered by doctors in the U.S., the Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay, does not identify infection caused by all species of ticks. It was only after he returned to Europe to have the C6-based ELISA test for 18 different species of ticks that his Lyme disease was diagnosed, but his U.S. doctor delayed treatment because he did not believe the test was accurate.

The sick man went to other doctors in an effort to find one who would treat the disease with antibiotics. In one possible instance of negligent medical treatment, the man's liver and kidneys failed after he was given an intravenous solution containing silver. He finally began to recover after finding a doctor who could diagnose and treat the disease.

Failure to diagnose Lyme disease, even in the face of the telltale symptoms of the illness, might be due to some doctors' reliance on tests that have not been shown to be 100 percent accurate in identifying the presence of the disease. People suffering as the result of a possible misdiagnosis might want to consult a medical malpractice attorney to investigate a possible personal injury claim.

Source: Medical Daily , "Man's 10-Month Lyme Disease Stint Exposes Holes, Confusion With Treating It In The US", Anthony Rivas , July 08, 2014

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