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Limited testing for Lyme disease can cause problems in treatment

Arizona residents may know that being bitten by a tick can lead to Lyme disease. Lyme disease may be more prevalent in the United States than test results for the disease suggest. This is because, at present, the prevailing test for Lyme disease only involves one species of tick, but many species of tick can infect people with the disease. False negatives are common in Lyme disease testing, and the disease is often misdiagnosed as something else.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 300,000 people get Lyme disease each year. In Europe, a test for Lyme disease is used that can test for infections caused by up to 18 different species of tick, unlike the United States test which only tests for infections caused by the most common tick species. The CDC says that using the European test in the U.S. may be a possibility in the future if more data comes in to support its use. In the meantime, reports indicate that there are other tests used in the United States that have not proven to be effective.

CDC's handling of Lyme disease has been criticized. The disease is difficult to diagnose because of its tendency to have a prolonged incubation period. This is why false negatives are common, and in many cases, by the time the disease has progressed enough for it to register on tests, the patient is already suffering serious symptoms or has been misdiagnosed with some other disease.

Hospital or doctor errors can result in serious health problems for patients, and sometimes even death. A medical malpractice lawsuit could result in compensation to someone who has been harmed by doctor error.

Source: Medical Daily , "Man's 10-Month Lyme Disease Stint Exposes Holes, Confusion With Treating It In The US", Anthony Rivas, July 08, 2014

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