Why Is It So Hard to Get a Lyme Disease Diagnosis?

Lavigne is finally feeling better, and says she expects to make a full recovery. That’s a good thing, since 10 to 20 percent of people with Lyme disease continue to experience symptoms for months or even years after treatment. This condition is sometimes called chronic Lyme disease, although it’s technically known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome.

Doctors aren’t sure what causes post-Lyme syndrome (some believe that symptoms are due to other tick-borne illnesses, or to chronic conditions like rheumatoid arthritis), and treatments like long-term antibiotic therapy are controversial. But a recent study from Johns Hopkins University showed that one thing is clear: Prolonged Lyme-related illness is more common than was once believed.

“Our data show that many people who have been diagnosed with Lyme disease are in fact going back to the doctor complaining of persistent symptoms, getting multiple tests, and being retreated,” the study authors said in a news release. “It is clear that we need effective, cost-effective, and compassionate management of these patients to improve their outcomes, even if we don’t know what to call the disease.”

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