Touched by Lyme
by Dorothy Kupcha Leland, DEC 2017

CDC website removes link to IDSA guidelines. Just lipstick on a pig?

Thanks to Lyme advocates on Facebook this morning for pointing out that the CDC Lyme pages were updated on Dec.1, 2017, with a number of notable changes.

For instance, the agency has REMOVED the link to the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s 2006 Lyme guidelines from its Lyme treatment page. Other references to those guidelines have apparently been disappeared from throughout the website as well.

For anyone new to this issue, the IDSA guidelines have long been like a sharp poke in the eye to the Lyme community. The guidelines define Lyme so narrowly that many people are denied a diagnosis in the first place. If you do manage to get diagnosed under their restrictive criteria, the guidelines allow only very brief treatment.

Insurance companies love the IDSA Lyme guidelines, because they can avoid paying for longer treatment for people with Lyme disease. People suffering with Lyme disease hate them, because the guidelines make it difficult, if not impossible, to get the treatment they need to get well.

So, having the CDC finally remove this link from its website is…interesting.

Here’s a screen shot of the CDC’s Lyme treatment page from Nov. 1, 2017. You can see that odious link in the middle there, shining bright as day.


And here’s what the page looks like this morning (Dec. 2, 2017):


Does this represent a change of heart by the CDC regarding Lyme treatment? Probably not. If you look at the current page, the recommendations for early treatment are in line with IDSA guidelines, without naming them.

And you’ll notice that for information about “chronic Lyme disease” and long-term treatment, the CDC page kicks you to the National Institutes of Health website. If you follow the link, you’ll find the same-old, same-old tripe about how long-term treatment doesn’t help, etc. (Based on three statistically puny studies of “chronic Lyme” the NIH funded years ago.)

Perhaps the CDC is trying to make its ties to the IDSA less glaringly obvious.

What’s the old phrase about putting lipstick on a pig? Still a pig.

In a separate but related development: The primary architect of the 2006 IDSA Lyme guidelines, Dr. Gary Wormser, was recently named to the new federal Tick-Borne Diseases Working Group. is protesting his appointment, based on his flagrant financial conflicts of interest with lab companies and other commercial enterprises.

Click here to read more about this issue & sign the petition:

TOUCHED BY LYME is written by Dorothy Kupcha Leland,’s VP for Education and Outreach. She is co-author of When Your Child Has Lyme Disease: A Parent’s Survival Guide. Contact her at

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