According to a new joint study conducted by scientists at Global Lyme Alliance (GLA) and Brown University, more than two million people in the United States could suffer profound disability from post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS) by the year 2020.
The study, published today by BMC Public Health, used advanced mathematical modeling to calculate the total number of patients with PTLD, a disorder which causes 10 to 20% of Lyme disease patients to suffer from severe symptoms long after their antibiotic treatment has ended—even if their initial infection was promptly diagnosed and correctly treated. PTLD can cause a variety of symptoms including incapacitating fatigue, chronic pain and neuro-cognitive impairment. Symptoms are often so severe that normal schedules for work, school, and personal lives are derailed.
Lyme disease has reached epidemic levels in the U.S., with an estimated 427,000 people in the U.S. newly infected every year. With timely diagnosis and antibiotic treatment most patients recover. However, researchers still do not understand why so many people remain sick months and even years after initial antibiotic treatment. Public and private insurance for the most part will not cover costs for treatment, so patients must pay medical expenses out of pocket.
About the research, lead investigator Allison DeLong, M.S., a biostatistician at Brown University’s Center for Statistical Sciences and a member of GLA’s Scientific Advisory Board, said that there were two goals of the study. Her first was to develop a rigorous mathematical framework for estimating the prevalence of PTLD in the U.S. The second was to actually calculate it to provide some projections for 2020. “To our knowledge, this is the first time such work has been done and we felt it was time to address these deficits,” she said.
Read more at Global Lyme Alliance
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