In the news

Well, I usually offer information on how to live better with Lyme or how to prevent it.
 Today I am posting about an article I was in. Hope you enjoy it.

"Advocates around the county are hoping to educate the public about the difficulties of diagnosing and treating Lyme disease.

Christina Murphy, a certified health coach living and practicing in New Market, has put together a class to be held at Frederick Community College about Lyme disease. The one-day class will be on Oct. 11.

Murphy was a gardener at Schifferstadt Architectural Museum in Frederick for about a decade, but had to leave in 2009 after being diagnosed with the disease.

She became chronically ill, with swollen limbs and slowed speech.

Initially, her doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong. Murphy believes doctors generally aren’t trained to look for Lyme.

“That’s a typical nightmare for a Lyme patient,” Murphy said.

Walkersville resident Nina Barry was misdiagnosed for about 20 years before she found a doctor who gave her the right test, she said.

She believes she had a spider bite in 1984 that may have transmitted the Lyme disease virus. She was diagnosed about a decade later with chronic fatigue, but didn’t get a positive Lyme test until 2008.

Barry, who is 61, retired from her position teaching middle school art in Carroll County and has not returned to the classroom since her diagnosis.

Barry doesn’t see herself as an advocate for Lyme disease awareness, but she thinks it’s important that patients know about the right kinds of diagnostic tests.

The IGeneX test, not the routinely used ELISA test, detected her infection, she said. According to the Mayo Clinic, the ELISA test can sometimes provide false-positive results.

A Maryland bill signed into law this year will require certain health care providers and labs to notify patients in writing about the possibility of a false positive or false negative and that “current laboratory testing for Lyme disease can be problematic.”

Nancy Fox, an educational consultant for the National Capital Lyme and Tick-Borne Disease Association, said doctors commonly look for a bullseye-shaped rash and a positive ELISA test.

“Many doctors have to follow that protocol, or feel they have to follow that protocol because that’s what’s been set forth,” she said.

Fox said the association suggests patients ask questions about the tests and treatments they receive.

Murphy became dissatisfied with doctors’ treatment recommendations and opted for a non-pharmaceutical treatment — oregano oil — instead of other antibiotics.

To help people who have been diagnosed with Lyme, Rob Cloutier organized the Frederick County Lyme Disease Support Group about four years ago.

Cloutier was diagnosed with Lyme disease 16 years ago.

He’s also worried that physicians are not well-trained about the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme.

“The main purpose of the support group is to find Lyme-literate physicians,” he said.

A couple of doctors in Frederick County are “Lyme-literate,” he said, although local residents can end up traveling outside the county to find suitable physicians.

“There’s a wide range of physicians within an hour’s drive of Frederick,” he said.

Follow Sylvia Carignan on Twitter: @SylviaCarignan.

Support for Lyme patients

The Frederick County Lyme Disease Support Group meets every third Thursday of the month at the Holy Family Catholic Church on Burkittsville Road. More details are available on the group's Facebook page at facebook.com/FrederickCountyLyme.

The National Capital Lyme Disease Association provides education about Lyme prevention as well as resources for Lyme patients in the Washington, D.C. metro area. For more information, visit natcaplyme.org or call 703-821-8833.

Christina Murphy's Lyme disease information session at Frederick Community College will be held October 11 from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. The fee is $29.

Clarification:

This story has been updated to clarify that the ELISA test for Lyme disease can result in false negatives as well as false positives.

Sylvia Carignan

Reporter for The Frederick News-Post covering Fort Detrick, Emmitsburg, biolabs, environment, military and health."