The Boston Globe reported yesterday that cases of Lyme disease had dramatically increased in Metrowest communities like Framingham and Natick. Lyme disease cases have more than quadrupled in Middlesex, Norfolk, and Worcester Counties since 2000. In Middlesex County, the numbers went from 136 cases in 2000 to 767 cases in 2008. The cause appears to be the rise in the deer population in these areas, and the development of new housing in areas where deer live. Lyme disease is caused by tiny deer ticks which are hard to spot because they are the size of a poppy seed.
Often Lyme disease is misdiagnosed. The early symptoms are not unlike the flu: fever, headache, fatigue, and sometimes, but not always, a rash. If untreated, the disease can progress to include severe arthritis, neurological problems including numbness, weakness, paralysis, and memory loss, meningitis, and heart problems. Commonly, doctors misdiagnose chronic Lyme disease sufferers as having multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, or fibromyalgia. There is also a controversy about treatment of Lyme disease, with the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and insurance companies advocating a short term treatment, and others, like the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) arguing for a longer term treatment. Within the last two months, a statute was passed providing patients and doctors the right to choose which treatment regime to follow.
If you have Lyme disease and have been misdiagnosed or not treated effectively, you should consult a lawyer who specializes in medical negligence law.