Surprised There Aren’t More News Reports About Lyme? Help Get the Word Out

Credit: David Boyle in DC's flickr stream

Credit: David Boyle in DC’s flickr stream

Since learning so much about the horrendous impacts of lyme disease—and living many of them—I am absolutely astonished that I don’t see coverage of this health crisis daily in the news. Lack of information is the reason I got so sick myself.

The few articles I’d seen before I got infected erroneously said lyme is easily treated with a short course of antibiotics, and implied that lyme is no big deal. While this is true for many people, for many others it couldn’t be further from the truth.

I had read that a negative test means you aren’t infected. That’s simply not true; testing is inaccurate. Too bad my health care provider and I didn’t get that information.

Sure, a smattering of articles appear here and there. But not enough. And not enough with a full and accurate picture of this complex illness—and the controversy surrounding it.

Meanwhile,  I’m encountering or hearing about lyme patients every single day now, and just about all of them say they never knew it could be so devastating—or so complex to diagnose and treat—until they got it.

Shouldn’t lyme be covered as often as possible in the media so people can protect themselves? Shouldn’t everyone be alerted so they know how to get a proper diagnosis and treatment if they’ve been infected by a tick? 

Here’s some good news: From my local support group to LymeDisease.org, there’s buzz about a fantastic series of articles on lyme—a series many hope will make it into the Pulitzer Prize spotlight.

Besides recognizing an excellent reporter, a Pulitzer would focus much-needed attention on this under-reported health crisis and give a huge boost to the movement for lyme awareness and prevention.

Here’s a great summary of the series from the LymeDisease.org blog  “Touched by Lyme”:

In August 2012, New York state’s Poughkeepsie Journal began an on-going series of articles about Lyme disease called “No Small Thing,” by investigative journalist Mary Beth Pfeiffer. It is the most comprehensive treatment of the subject ever undertaken by a newspaper.

The reporter delved into such complex and controversial topics as how Lyme disease cases are officially counted (and NOT counted); how difficult it is for Lyme patients to get properly diagnosed and effectively treated; how some doctors who treat Lyme disease are being targeted by medical authorities; how and why testing for Lyme disease is so problematic; how and why medical guidelines regarding Lyme treatment are profoundly flawed; how tick-borne Babesiosis  (which can accompany Lyme and complicate its treatment) endangers the nation’s blood supply.

By the way, Pfeiffer got infected with lyme herself while working on this series. Good thing she had the knowledge to get proper treatment right away.

Here’s where you come in.

Read the entire “Touched by Lyme” blog post. Then check out the comprehensive series “No Small Thing,” by Mary Beth Pfeiffer.  Share it far and wide with friends and family.

And if you are as impressed as I am, write a letter the newspaper can use to support the Pulitzer Prize nomination. “Touched by Lyme” gives all the details you need.

Act now, because the newspaper has to submit the nomination by January 25th.

Help make 2013 the year lyme disease finally gets the broad attention that will spark more research and public education. Progress in these areas will benefit so many suffering adults and children—and help countless more avoid getting sick in the first place.

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