A local specialist who's treated Lyme disease for more than 20 years says it's an epidemic in our region. Many of his patients who've contracted it have been bitten by ticks that carry Lyme, while gardening or mowing their lawn.
Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Robert Sullivan says prompt antibiotic treatment eradicates the Lyme bacteria in most cases.
However, Dr. Sullivan says some patients treated for Lyme, complain of chronic joint pain, fatigue and other symptoms.
"There's 2 controversies. The first is whether the persistent, the recurrent or persistent symptoms are really from Lyme. We don't know that yet, and the second controversy is how to treat it. Do we treat it with anti-inflammatories to try to control arthritic symptoms?"
Dr. Sullivan says studies show long-term antibiotic treatment doesn't relieve their symptoms and can cause significant side-effects.
He adds that some patients who thought they had chronic Lyme were diagnosed with lupus, arthritis or spinal disease.
Dr. Sullivan says more research is needed into Lyme disease and better testing methods need to be developed.