Lyme Disease

Calvin Thrash, M. D.

This baffling and intriguing disease is a newcomer on the medical scene, but has probably been around unrecognized for quite a while. Now known to be caused by a germ transmitted by the deer tick, it can cause an alarming array of symptoms. The germ is a spirochete, similar to the one causing syphilis. Its name is Borrelia burgdorferi. The disease gets its name from Lyme, Connecticut, where it was first recognized. The New England states are still among the leaders in incidence of this disease, but outbreaks are now being reported in every area of North America. An intermediate host for Borrelia is the white-footed mouse; both the mouse and the deer are required for spread of the germs to the deer tick, and subsequently to man. It most often occurs in late spring and early summer.

Lyme disease usually begins with a flu-like illness, often, but not always, followed by a distinctive rash. The initial lesion on the skin is a large, blotchy, red ring that fades in the middle to finally resemble a target. Weeks or months later it can cause arthritis almost indistinguishable from crippling rheumatoid arthritis, although it usually improves in one to two years. But of considerably more concern, it can cause serious heart and neurological disease. Recently, a medical article reported finding Borrelia organisms in the heart muscle of a man who had cardiomyopathy, a progressive heart muscle weakening disorder that had previously been of unknown cause. A number of disorders of the central nervous system and nerves can be caused by Lyme disease. A blood test is now available for the disease, but it may be falsely negative in a fair number of cases. A similar disease caused by similar organisms is now being found almost all over the world.

Treatment has depended on potent antibiotics given early in the disease. Unfortunately, it is seldom diagnosed early, and treatment is by no means always successful, in the later stages, it may not be successful at all. Recently, a report in the “New England Journal of Medicine” described a series of patients who had been treated early with antibiotics but had later developed illnesses typical of Lyme Disease; the blood tests were, however, negative. A new and still experimental test showed conclusively that they all had Lyme Disease. The researchers postulated that early antibiotic treatment had killed the Borrelia organisms in the body, but not in the central nervous system due to the poor passage of drugs across the “blood-brain barrier.” So the organism continued to flourish there, later causing systemic disease.

We have had several typical cases of Lyme disease reported to us, complete with the tick bite and rash, which have been treated with a series of artificial fever treatments. None of them has had further illness, as long as 2 years later. Perhaps this natural remedy will prove useful against this new scourge.

In the meantime, prevention is the name of the game. In endemic areas, when one goes into the woods, he should be well-clothed, with long-sleeved shirts and trousers. Insect repellants containing “Deet,” (such as OFF), are said to be effective; use them with extreme caution on children as they can be toxic. Inspect children especially when they come in, and if a tick is found (this species is so small it is nearly microscopic), remove it promptly: it takes up to 2 hours or more after attachment for the tick to transmit the organism. Do not allow pets in the house, nor let children play with them. Several reports have shown cats and dogs to have numerous deer ticks attached after being outside for a while. With the decrease in farmland and subsequent increase in cover for wild animals all over the country and decline of natural predators assuring the proliferation of the burgeoning deer population everywhere, steady increase of disease and disability from Lyme disease is virtually assured.

As we have seen in this vignette; medical science is far from curing all infectious diseases, to say nothing of degenerative lifestyle-related disorders. As this world waxes old like a garment, we will see more and more perplexing illnesses, especially as the Spirit of the Lord is being withdrawn from the earth.

Since we believe that every disease can be ultimately treatable by the simple remedies that the Lord has provided, we encourage health workers and laymen to try sensible, rational, natural remedies even for the “untreatable” illnesses that we are seeing more and more.


Uchee Pines Lifestyle Center