By Dr. Mercola
- An estimated 329,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year and the prevalence is rising across the world
- Lyme disease is becoming more widely recognized as a real disease, and one that can have chronic consequences, but sufferers still meet plenty of resistance from the medical community and insurers
- The film reveals medical collusion and conflicts of interest that keep Lyme patients suffering, but ends on a hopeful note, showing how patients in the prequel have managed to improve their health and reclaim their lives
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 329,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year, although some data suggest it may actually be over 444,000.1 While exact numbers are difficult to ascertain, what is known is that the prevalence is rising.
Since Lyme disease became a nationally notifiable condition in 1991,2 the number of U.S. counties considered at high risk for Lyme disease has increased by more than 300%.3 The disease is also expanding rapidly all over the world,4 as new research presented in April 2019 shows that the outbreaks are creeping steadily into northern countries with less temperate climates.
Likewise, by the end of 2018 eight northern U.S. states had more Lyme disease cases than southern states like Florida or those with moderate climates like West Virginia and North Carolina.5 In fact, Pennsylvania was leading the pack with 119,000 cases, according to the CDC.
Today, Lyme disease is becoming more widely recognized as an actual disease, but sufferers still meet plenty of resistance from the medical community and insurers. In years past, Lyme sufferers were often told their problem was psychiatric; in essence, the symptoms were “all in their head.”
Under Our Skin
“Under Our Skin 2: Emergence” is a sequel to the award-winning and Academy Award semifinalist documentary “Under Our Skin,”6 which exposed the hidden story of “medical and scientific malfeasance and neglect,” as thousands of people with Lyme disease go undiagnosed, or get misdiagnosed each year.
“Under Our Skin” had a tremendous impact raising awareness among patients, doctors and health authorities alike. Since the film’s release in 2014, the CDC has raised its estimated prevalence of Lyme more than 10 times, making it more prevalent than HIV and breast cancer combined in the U.S.
Even more importantly, scientific hypotheses presented in the film — such as the theory that Lyme organisms may thrive in biofilms, which helps explain why treatment is so difficult and recurrence so common — have now become widely accepted.
However, despite progress, Lyme patients still face an uphill battle. “Emergence” examines the deepening crisis, as prevalence is rising far faster than the evolution of diagnosis and treatment.
This article was originally published in 2016, and it’s been updated in 2019 in preparation for Lyme Disease Awareness Month in May in the United States. I believe this is the perfect time to share this important film once again, in case you haven’t seen it.
Around the world, controversy around Lyme disease continues to brew, and the film reveals medical collusion and conflicts of interest that keep Lyme patients suffering. The film ends on a hopeful note, however, by showing how patients in the original film have managed to improve their health and reclaim their lives.
The History of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease was named after the East Coast town of Lyme, Connecticut, where the disease was first identified in 1975.7 By 1977, the black-legged tick (Ixodes scapularis, also known as the deer tick) was linked to transmission of the disease.
In November 1981, Willy Burgdorfer, Ph.D., discovered the bacterium responsible for the infection: Borrelia burgdorferi (B. burgdorferi),8 a relative to the spirochete bacterium that causes syphilis .9 The bacteria are released into your blood from the infected tick.
We now know there are about two dozen species of B. burgdorferi with hundreds of strains worldwide,10 many of which show resistance to antibiotics, with the disease recurring when antibiotics are stopped. New research11 shows that one reason for this may be that B. burgdorferi form protective biofilms around themselves, enhancing antibiotic resistance.
While not all the species are human pathogens, part of what makes B. burgdorferi such a formidable foe is its ability to take different forms in your body, depending on the conditions. This clever maneuvering helps it to hide and survive and ultimately to form these biofilms.
Its corkscrew-shaped form also allows it to burrow into and hide in a variety of your body’s tissues, which is why it causes such wide-ranging multisystem involvement.
Increasing the complexity further, some symptoms may also be due to coinfections triggered by other disease-causing organisms that like to travel with the B. burgdorferi bacterium. Many Lyme patients have one or more of these coinfections, which may or may not respond to any given treatment for B. burgdorferi.
To learn more about the symptoms and prevention of Lyme disease, make sure to check out the award-winning films “Under Our Skin” and “Under Our Skin 2: Emergence.”
I can’t recommend viewing this documentary enough. I hope all of you that attended the Lyme Awareness event yesterday take the time to view this sequel as it does offer much hope to patients. They follow the same patients in “Under Our Skin,” and reveal how they are all substantially better, with some completely off treatment.
Recently, Newsweek wrote an article on the ‘Untreatable’ form of Lyme. This is untrue, and I write a rebuttal to that article here: https://madisonarealymesupportgroup.com/2019/04/29/is-the-sky-truly-going-to-fall-for-patients-with-the-untreatable-form-of-lyme-disease/
There is a huge difference between ‘untreatable’ and incurable. While some may remain with symptoms for life, treatment is imperative and will allow patients to retrieve their health back, or improve their condition vastly. Don’t let anyone tell you this is ‘untreatable.”