Chronic Fatigue Often Misdiagnosed Lyme
By Bernie Cohen and Chih-Tsai Chung
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. Out of a group of 31 patients diagnosed with CFS, 90.3% of the patients (28) were found to be ill as a result of Lyme. One patient was determined to have an unrelated illness (brain aneurysm). Only two patients in the study (6.3%) were suffering from CFS.
All 31 patients had previously been tested for Lyme. All the patients results were seronegative for Lyme. After repeat testing during the study, a minority did test positive, some members of this group again tested negative for Lyme.
Because of the inaccuracy of the Elisa and Western Blot tests, this study was based on response to antibiotic treatment. In addition, to ensure that patients weren't experiencing a placebo effect, the patients were given antibiotics over an extended period of time (the effects of placebos are generally short lived).
In those who responded to antibiotic treatment the response was notably varied and not predictable. Almost 10% were cured or experienced a remission. More than 15% were able to return to school or work. The others who did not still were able to perform more tasks and felt better overall. All felt they would continue to improve as long as the treatment was extended, though many had doubts as to whether they would ever be cured.
About 150 people diagnosed with CFS were asked to participate in this study. Many declined. The most common reason given by those who declined was that they trusted in the ability of their doctors to make a correct diagnosis. Ironically, more than 70% of those who participated in the study were disappointed in themselves for having placed too much trust in their physicians. Most of these people expressed great anger and resentment towards the physicians whose rnisdiagnosis cost them their health.
The results of this informal study clearly show, (1) most CFS diagnosed patient are actually suffering from Lyme disease, (2) that many physicians are inappropriately relying on the accuracy of Lyme tests to make a diagnosis, and (3) that based on the incidence of CFS diagnosed cases in the U.S., Lyme disease may be the fastest spreading infectious disease in the U.S.