Each year about 300,000 people in the United States will get Lyme disease, a tick-borne illness. The majority — about 90-percent — of those who get Lyme disease will take a short round of antibiotics and within a few weeks feel better. But doctors say 10 percent will develop long-term health problems known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, or PTLDS.
Dr. Kim Lewis leads a Lyme disease research team at Northeastern University’s Anti-Microbial Discovery Center in Boston. He says doctors do not know what the difference between those people who will and will not develop PTLDS. The symptoms of PTLDS, also known as chronic Lyme disease, can be debilitating.
PTLDS brought Dr. Lewis and other researchers from all fields of science, medicine, and the environment together at conference in New York City at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. These experts are sharing what they are learning about fighting Lyme disease and its long-term side effects.
Dr. Lewis and his team of researchers in Boston are trying to solve problems on several fronts. He also hopes within the next year or two there will be a blood test available to determine if you get Lyme disease if you will be among the 10 percent likely to develop long-term problems. Knowing that would help doctors immediately prescribe a more aggressive antibiotic treatment.
Dr. Lewis says he and his team are testing a mixture of drugs already on the market being used for something else they believe will also work on solving the long-term effects of Lyme disease.