By Mary Beth Pfeiffer on

It’s Time to Get Serious about Tick-Borne Diseases

The U.S. vanquished malaria and beat back AIDS, but Lyme and other illnesses are raging unchecked

In the article in the above link, the author compares the treatment of Lyme/MSIDS patients with how those with AIDS were treated in the 80’s. She notes that patients with tick-borne diseases are dismissed similarly to how AIDS patients were, and are labeled anti-science, and are summarily denied insurance reimbursement. The author also compares the fact there are over 11,500 studies on AIDS compared to the 55 for Lyme.

  • West Nile virus, which currently infects about 2,000 people annually in the U.S. received $42 million from the U.S. National Institutes of Health
  • Lyme disease, which has 20 times the number of reported cases, got half as much
Evidently that number hasn’t budged in a decade.

She then aptly points out:

  • Zika, another mosquito-borne virus infecting just seven U.S. people in 2017, obtained $1.1 billion from Congress
  • Lyme, admittedly underreported, yet estimated to be potentially 427,000 new cases per year, received just $90 per new case from the NIH and $35 per new case from the CDC compared to $53,571 per new case of HIV/AIDS from the NIH and $14,054 per new case of HIV/AIDS from the CDC according to The Tick borne disease working group (TBDWG). The report states federal funding for Lyme disease has failed to increase as the problem has grown.

Unfortunately, the author erroneously states that the lone star tick has migrated due to the climate warming; however, research has shown warmer winters are actually lethal to ticks and that ticks are extremely eco-adaptive and equipped for survival:

Please be aware the author of the article is selling her own book about climate change and Lyme.

Independent research has shown that birds and photoperiod are behind the movement of ticks:  This fact demonstrates why tropical ticks are found in Canada and Canadian ticks are found in the topics. They didn’t walk here because the weather was nicer.

I agree whole-heartedly with the author that precious time has been wasted and that research funding is “paltry and static.”

I think we would disagree; however, on how research dollars should be spent.  If we are to truly “get serious,” we need to admit that the statically paltry research dollars need to go toward issues that directly affect patient well-being. I say, “NO MORE” funding on climate data which has not and will not help suffering Lyme/MSIDS patients. We need to start over with a blank slate. This complex illness is NOT what we’ve been told it is. There is much indicating it’s a STD, is spread congenitally, and potentially by other insects.  We still don’t have accurate testing that picks up ALL pathogens involved. We still don’t have adequate treatment. And, we still don’t have a means of paying for treatment. There are so many other important issues that haven’t been addressed in over 40 years when the initial outbreak happened.

If we are truly serious, we need to care where the research dollars go.