Lyme disease has been around for decades, however suprisingly little is known about the disease. This leads to misdiagnosis which in some cases can have fatal consequences. Delaware Legislators are voting on a bill that would assign an oversight board to educate medical professionals about the controversial disease.
Currently, there are two different sets of guidelines that doctors use to diagnose a patient. One is what Lyme education advocates call progressive, using the latest technology. Marilyn Williams, who is the Executive Director for the Lyme Disease Association of Delmarva Inc., says “unfortunately the set of guidelines that’s most followed is an old antiquated set of guidelines that actually has been pulled from the national guidelines clearing house.”
Unfortunately, the newer guidelines were not around in 1991, Pamela Andrews’ daughter got the tickborne illness. Andrews is the President and Founder of the Lyme Disease Association of Delmarva. She says her daughter was misdiagnosed, and at the time doctor’s assured Pamela her daughter would be fine. “Well she was never fine again. Because, what happened was she had come down with Lyme disease. We went to 13 different medical doctors. 3 different medical institutions and none of them could figure out she had Lyme disease.” Andrews shared with 47ABC. She then continued, saying by the time she was correctly diagnosed, it was almost a decade after first showing symptoms. Treatment then became debilitating, leaving Andrews’ daughter bedridden for three years, and she is still disabled today.
This is why Andrews not only founded the organization, but why she testified at a Senate committee hearing hoping that the right people are assembled on a Lyme education oversight board. Legislators are trying to move the bill quickly, given Delaware is a hotbed for tickborne illnesses according to Williams. “People are getting sick just from going out in their flower garden and they live in a subdivision you know they’re not going in the woods, people are getting sick in their own backyards” Williams says.
While research for a cure is making strides, lawmakers say the biggest issue that needs to be addressed when it comes to Lyme is education and awareness, not only for medical professionals, but the public as well.