So what has changed since 1990?
• The internet did not exist
• Gas cost $1.09
• The average income was $28,650
• George Bush (#1) was president
• Goodfellas, Home alone and Dances with wolves were the top movies
• #1 song was “Another day in paradise” by Phil Collins
• Wayne Gretzky won the Stanley cup MVP
• Pete Sampras won Wimbledon
• Cindy Crawford and Brooke Shields were sex symbols
But one thing hasn’t changed… Lyme testing
The testing procedures and Guidelines are exactly the same. According to the CDC, in 1990 the numbers of cases of Lyme totaled fewer than 1 Million. The same CDC calculations show that in 2018 there are over 12 Million cases in the USA alone.
We should point out that the criteria for determining if a Lyme Western Blot test is positive is based on a CDC-led scientific group that included the FDA and State laboratory directors back in the early 1990’s. In more than 28 years of studying Lyme disease, these outdated criteria are still used today.
To complicate this further, there are now over 100 known strains of Borrellia in the United States and over 300 species worldwide and the Lyme testing is primarily looking for only one type (Borrellia burgdorferi). We now know that many cases of Lyme disease on the West Coast of the United States is caused by Borrellia miyomotoi, which does not get picked up on the Lyme Western Blot. So, it is possible that some patients, who experience Lyme disease symptoms and have a negative test, may have a different strain of Lyme disease that the tests do not detect. It is surprising that with everything we know about Lyme disease and the antibodies associated with it, that the CDC has yet to alter its criteria since 1990 to reflect the current research in 2018. (1)
There are also no official guidelines for tests that may be considered borderline or equivocal. There have been many Lyme Western Blot tests where patients have 4 or less markers instead of 5 required to call the test positive. Or they only have 1 out of 3 antibodies for IgM, but the one antibody they have is a Lyme-specific band. Since the tests are actually measuring the number of antibodies, the cut-off for these tests assumes each patient exposed to Borrellia has the same exact immune response. The CDC has failed to recognize the diversity of the human population and immune responses. If someone has even one Lyme-specific antibody, even if they do not meet the CDC criteria for calling the test positive, doesn’t that mean they have Lyme?
Isn’t that kind of like being a little pregnant?
(1)Darin Ingels, ND, FAEM, “The Lyme Solution: A 5-part Plan to Fight the Inflammatory Auto-Immune Response and Beat Lyme Disease”. November 2017