Inaccurate Information on the Internet CDC Response

The Lyme Disease Association Inc.  wrote to the CDC in response to an article published in Pediatric Infectious Disease , Dec. 23, 2004, James Cooper, Henry Feder, titled “Inaccurate Information About Lyme Disease on the Internet.”  This article critiqued websites on information about Lyme, and as could be expected, any information contrary to prevailing IDSA positions  was judged to be inaccurate. Most significant advocate sites were listed as such.  

The journal would not publish a rebuttal, but CDC kept this journal information with comments on its website and organizations had no recourse. The LDA wrote and received the response in 2005 .

The journal article  was not removed fro the website for many years. 


Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC)
Atlanta GA 30333

AUG 2 3 2005

Ms.-Patricia V. Smith
President ,
Lyme Disease Association, Inc.
P.O. Box 1438
Jackson, New Jersey 08527

Dear Ms. Smith:
Thank you for your letter regarding the article “Inaccurate Information about Lyme Disease on
the Internet,” which is posted on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC)
website. Please excuse the delay of this response.

CDC has chosen to highlight the report by Feder and colleagues to address misleading
information about Lyme disease on the Internet. The article was published in a peer-reviewed
journal and used a set of evaluation criteria d~rived from scientifically sound practice guidelines
previously published by the American Acade1]1Yof, Pediatrics,the,Amer~canCollege of
Rheumatology, and the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). .

We frequently receive telephone calls from patients and family members who are confused and
upset by false and misleading information they have read on the Internet. In some cases, patients
are making ill-informed decisions that could affect their health and well-being. We believe we
have an obligation to respond to this problem.

Your letter indicates that the presence of two sets of treatment guidelines demonstrates that both
points of view are equally valid. We h~ve reviewed the scientific findings used to support
various approaches to-treatmeht and control of Lyme disease-and have cqnc1udedthat the weight
of the current scientific literature provides considerably more support to the treatment guidelines
developed under the auspices of IDSA over other recommendations.

We appreciate your comments and I hope this information is helpful.


Julie Louise Gerbeding, MD, M.P.H.