On September 20, 2021, a federal judge in Texas dismissed all claims against the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) brought by a group of patients with Lyme disease. The lawsuit alleged that the IDSA and other defendants had “engaged in a decades-long conspiracy to deny the existence and prevent treatment of chronic Lyme disease.” In his dismissal, the judge held that the IDSA guidelines—as most clinicians are aware—represented a summary of current medical knowledge and adherence to the recommendations was voluntary.
In response, Ross Boyce, MD, MSc, assistant professor of infectious diseases and epidemiology, recently published “Destroying the Village in Order to Save It: Collateral Damage in the Battle Over Lyme Disease” in Open Forum Infectious Diseases.
Recognizing that the outcome represented an important victory of the IDSA, Boyce acknowledges that it should also serve as a turning point in how providers approach patients with “chronic” Lyme disease, many of whom experience substantial symptoms and suffer an emotional burden due to the uncertainty of their diagnosis. He also emphasizes how the incidence of Lyme disease continues to increase and the geographic range of the vector expands, infectious disease specialists—experts in history taking, physical examination, and diagnosis—should play a leading role, not only to combat pervasive misinformation, but more importantly to benefit patients.
Read the opinion article here.