COVID Anchoring Bias & Tick-Borne Disease Diagnosis

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.
(Photo Credit: Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAMS)

Harold W. Horowitz, et al., published the research letter, “COVID-19 and the Consequences of Anchoring Bias” in the CDC’s August publication of the monthly journal, Emerging Infectious Diseases. The authors disclose how suspected coronavirus disease in febrile patients can influence healthcare providers’ decisions and may result in misdiagnosing other serious infections with epidemiologic risk.

The paper provides two patient cases illustrating how this biased mindset can have potentially severe consequences. This was demonstrated by human granulocytic anaplasmosis, and Lyme disease detected in a pregnant woman, and human granulocytic anaplasmosis in another person.

The article’s contributors acknowledge the devastating effects caused by a missed COVID-19 diagnosis, including the epidemiologic impacts. However, they emphasize that failing to diagnose tick-borne illnesses, as well as other infections, can also have harmful patient outcomes. They urge healthcare providers to keep an open mind despite pressure to evaluate for COVID-19 and to also consider other diagnoses when evaluating febrile patients.

Read the research letter.

More on COVID-19 and tick-borne illness.

HHS TBD Working Group 2021-22: 1st Meeting Aug. 26

 The HHS Tick-Borne Disease Working Group (WG) of 2021-2022 will hold its first meeting on August 26, 2021. The details of the meeting can be found on the HHS TBD Working Group website. Verbal comments and written comments can be submitted according to rules on the website. This term is the last segment of the WG, which was mandated by the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act signed into law in 2016. The WG brings together Lyme and TBD stakeholders in a transparent setting where discussions are held and decisions are made on recommendations to be included in a report to Congress–this last report to be presented in 2022.  
Find information on the meeting below
Find Info on 2020 Report to Congress
More Info on the WG and 2020 Report to Congress

SAVE THE DATE: Lyme Disease Association Announces Lyme Conference 2021

Lyme & Other Tick-Borne Diseases: Research for a CureThe Lyme Disease Association Inc. and Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons are jointly providing the 21st annual scientific conference, Lyme & Other Tick-Borne Diseases: Research for a Cure, virtually on October 2, 2021. This conference is designed to meet the high standards for continuing medical education credits for medical & health professionals and for researchers. It is, however, open to the general public. Adults only. Public Registration will open soon. Details will be provided on the LDA website. For updates, periodically visit LDA’s 2021 Conference Page

ALERT! CPAP & BiPAP Users, Recall

The Lyme Disease Association Inc. urges you to read the URGENT letter to CPAP & BiPAP device customers from Phillips Respironics below on details of the recall if you have any connection to these devices.  The devices are listed in the recall notice and on the website.  According to the Customer Letter, “These issues can result in serious injury which can be life-threatening, cause permanent impairment, and/or require medical intervention to preclude permanent impairment.”  Actions for you to take can be found in links below. 

Recall Notice Letter to Customers

Philips Website Details on Recall


Maryland Department of Health Warns Doctors About Lyme

In a letter to physicians, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) warns doctors to pay attention to Lyme which is the most frequently diagnosed tick-borne disease (TBD) in Maryland residents (1400 cases 2019). The MDH also cautions them to report other TBDs, which it specifically names. The letter also points out the similarities of Lyme symptoms to COVID 19 symptoms and reminds providers of obligation to report the required TBDs.

Tick bite prevention tips are offered, and a Maryland Tick Identification Service is provided in the letter. https://health.maryland.gov/phpa/OIDEOR/CZVBD/Pages/Tick-Identification.aspx

Read full letter here  

Read more LDA articles on Maryland here

Cohen Foundation Funds Establishment of the Bartonella Research Consortium


According to the Tulane news, a three-year, $4.8 million initiative funded by The Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation, will establish the Bartonella Research Consortium with the goal of developing a novel treatment for bartonellosis. There are over 40 known Bartonella species/subspecies and at least 17 of these species/subspecies have been associated with a spectrum of debilitating disease symptoms in humans. 

The Consortium is composed of key infectious disease researchers including Drs. Edward B. Breitschwerdt, Monica E. Embers, Timothy A. Haystead and Ricardo G. Maggi that will work collaboratively to study the complex and poorly understood Bartonella pathogens to provide patient relevant solutions to benefit both animal and human health. Funding for this research initiative draws on the combined strengths of research laboratories located at Duke University, North Carolina State University and Tulane University. 

Read the full Tulane News article here

Read more LDA articles on Bartonella here



Tick IPM Working Group Presenting Second Annual Tick Academy

IPM tick academyThe Lyme Disease Association announces that the Tick IPM Working Group is presenting the second annual Tick Academy, September 13-15, 2021 from 10 AM until 2 PM each day.  

The Tick Academy is the premier event for educators, students, researchers, pest control professionals, public health professionals, public-space managers, and citizen scientists, who want to learn more about what they can do to stop the spread of ticks and tickborne diseases in their respective communities.

The event will take place virtually and will feature twelve presentations over three, four-hour sessions during which the presenters will share the latest information about tick management, tickborne disease prevention, recent discoveries of emerging pathogens, public perceptions of risk, diversity, identification of ticks and ongoing research on control and vaccine developments.

For more details, please view the Tick Academy Announcement Flyer.

To register for this virtual event, click the registration link at the bottom of the flyer or visit tickacademy.brownpapertickets.com.

For more IPM information: IPM Pest Alert-Asian longhorned tick

Visit LDA’s Tick Info Page.

2021 Virtual Conference Medical Scholarship Application

Lyme & Other Tick-Borne Diseases: Research for a Cure

For complete conference details click here

If you DO NOT meet the below eligibility requirements, PLEASE DO NOT APPLY FOR A SCHOLARSHIP

Scholarship Information for Conference

Who is eligible to apply

Categories:  Medical student; resident; post-doctoral candidate; fellow;  nurse practitioner candidate; doctor or nurse practitioner new to practice, i.e., less than 5 years experience; veterinarian with equivalent status to the aforementioned; physician assistant whose sponsoring physician writes a letter of support on office letterhead;  representative from a public health department.  US residents only are eligible to apply.

What is the scholarship for

To enable participation in the LDA/Columbia CME Conference  “Lyme Disease Association’s 21st annual  Lyme & Other Tick-Borne Diseases Scientific Conference”  (October 2, 2021, Virtual)

Why is this scholarship being provided

Our goal is to disseminate knowledge to the above eligible categories so they can learn from leading scientists and clinicians about the progress in Lyme & tick-borne diseases. Such knowledge stimulates novel research ideas, forges collaborations, and enhances clinical care.


LDA must receive the application from you by Sept. 24, 2021 to be considered for a scholarship. Applicants will be considered on a first come first serve basis until the funds are depleted.

How will the scholarships be awarded

Scholarships will be awarded at the sole discretion of the Lyme Disease Association, Inc. (LDA). If the information you provided is found subsequently to be untrue, you will be required to reimburse the LDA for the full cost of the scholarship award.

How will the scholarship will be administered

The LDA will notify you of its decision.  If you are accepted, detailed instructions will be sent to you.  Reimbursement policies will be sent to you at the time of acceptance.

Total of scholarship will not exceed the cost of the Non-CME registration. Scholarship will not pay for CME registration.  You will be registering and incurring the registration fee yourself, if you are notified that you are approved for the scholarship. After the conference, accepted applicants who have registered will need to submit an LDA reimbursement form along with conference registration receipt, and attendance verification, to receive reimbursement for non-CME conference fee.  If you only attend partial conference, you will receive a percent of maximum reimbursement amount.

Back to Conference Summary page

How to Apply

Submit the following documentation to certify your eligibility for this scholarship:

  1. Verify identity:
    • ID card from the institution/practice/health dept. in which you are attending/employed OR
    • Letter on institution/practice/health dept. stationary signed by the department chair, dean, faculty mentor/member who knows you the best, doctor or director. His/her contact information should be included.
  2. Personal W-9 (don’t forget to sign and date it)
  3. The online application form below and required documents you will upload must be received by Sept. 7, 2021 (12M ET). Questions email LDA@LymeDiseaseAssociation.org

2021 Virtual Conference Medical Scholarship Application

  • Max. file size: 32 MB.
  • Max. file size: 32 MB.

This activity is supported by independent educational grants from:

Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation


2019 Scientific Conference Jointly Provided by

Chronic Lyme Associated With Loss of Contrast Sensitivity

In a recent article published in Translational Vision Science and Technology, researchers found that contrast sensitivity impairment was associated with patients suffering from chronic lyme. 

According to the Online Medical Dictionary, contrast sensitivity is defined as “The ability to detect sharp boundaries (stimuli) and to detect slight changes in luminance at regions without distinct contours.”

Investigators describe that contrast sensitivity has been found to be impaired in a variety of ocular conditions including cataract and retinal degeneration, as well as in neurologic diseases, such as multiple sclerosis;  and loss of contrast sensitivity may also indicate specific or nonspecific deficits in neurologic and/or cognitive function. In this article, it was also found that contrast sensitivity impairment was marginally associated with patients exhibiting neurologic abnormalities and cognitive impairment, but with no other ocular complaints. Investigators further state that these links may be a marker of illness severity, but that it is unclear if CS testing would be a useful gauge of improvement over time, suggesting a need for further studies. 

Read full article here

Read more LDA articles on chronic lyme symptoms here.



Researchers: Submit Pilot Study Concepts to Columbia Clinical Trials Network

Deadline Aug. 1   The Lyme Disease Association Inc. is notifying researchers that the Clinical Trials Network established with a grant from the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation to Columbia University announces that the website is now accepting Pilot Study Concept submissions (July 1 to Aug 1).  

The Clinical Trials Network welcomes research clinicians and investigators from academic institutions and foundations to submit proposals. The CTN Study Review Committee will review submissions for consideration for further development into a pilot study; each pilot study will be conducted at one of the CTN investigation sites.  The CTN has funding to support 1-2 small pilot studies each year.  Current CTN network affiliates include investigators from Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City, Johns Hopkins University Medical Center in Baltimore Maryland, and Children’s National Hospital in Washington D.C.  The CTN Study Review Committee includes the core CTN members, clinical research experts, and academic and community clinicians. Results of the CTN pilot studies – if favorable – will lead to consideration for larger Randomized Controlled Trials.    

The deadline for the first round of submissions for treatment research ideas from the research scientists and clinicians is August 1, 2021.  The submission period opens July 1.   

We thank all clinicians and investigators in advance for participation in this process, as your proposal may lead to a transformative study. 

To submit a Pilot Study Proposal:  


To find out more information about the Network, go to the Lyme Disease Association link below.

Read about the establishment of the Network