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Controversies in Lyme Disease Treatment and Diagnosis to be Debated at Lyme Disease Association Conference in Newton, MA

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Controversies in Lyme Disease Treatment and Diagnosis to be Debated at Lyme Disease Association Conference in Newton, MA

WHAT:
Researchers and physicians from throughout the world will gather on Friday, Oct. 26, 2007 to discuss the latest research about Lyme disease including diagnosis and treatment options. The meeting is a fully CME accredited annual medical conference, co-sponsored by the Lyme Disease Association and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.


At 5:15 PM, Dr. Raphael Stricker, president of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), will debate Dr. Paul Auwaerter of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine about one of the most polarizing healthcare issues today: the two standards of care for Lyme disease, one advocating short-term treatment (IDSA guidelines) and the other advocating long-term treatment (ILADS guidelines.)

Media are invited to attend the debate at 5:15pm, as well as attend selected sessions throughout the day, which runs from 8AM to 6:30PM. Conference speakers and attendees are available for interviews.

WHY:
Earlier this month, exactly one year after the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) issued practice guidelines severely limiting doctors’ discretion in treating thousands of Lyme disease patients, the New England Journal of Medicine published a review arguing that there is no medical basis for Chronic Lyme disease. This debate continues between medical experts who support the IDSA guidelines and those doctors and patients who find the guidelines restrictive and counter to their successful experience with long-term antibiotic treatment. The Connecticut Attorney General’s office has even launched an on-going investigation into the development of the IDSA guidelines.

Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne (insect- or tick-borne) disease in the world today. The CDC has indicated that only 10 percent of the cases that meet its surveillance criteria are actually reported. No one keeps track of the numbers of cases that do not meet the surveillance criteria, cases that are physician-diagnosed clinically and the ones that most often develop into chronic disease. According to a Columbia University study funded by the National Institutes of Health, on average, patients with chronic Lyme disease have symptoms for more than one year before being correctly diagnosed.

Why is this especially critical in Massachusetts?
 Lyme disease is a serious public health issue, and Massachusetts ranks 5th nationally in CDC reported cases from 1990 through 2006 with 14,248 reported cases over that period.
 Since CDC indicates only 10 % of cases meeting its surveillance criteria are reported, about 142,480 cases probably occurred over that time period in Massachusetts.
 National figures over the same time period record 265,486 cases, thus more than 2.6 million cases which meet the surveillance criteria probably occurred.

WHERE:
Boston Marriott Newton, 2345 Commonwealth Avenue Newton, MA

WHO: 
Dr. Raphael Stricker, president, International Lyme and Associated Diseases (ILADS),
Pat Smith, president, Lyme Disease Association
Variety of patients

CONTACT: Vicky Jaffe, MS&L, (617) 937-2578, Vicky.jaffe@mslpr.com
More information at www.LymeDiseaseAssociation.org