Letter: Clear and helpful Lyme reports

I am a longtime Lyme sufferer, and I really appreciated the articles on Lyme disease by Megan Smith in last week’s Rappahannock News. Lyme seems almost endemic in Rappahannock, and it is important for Rappahannock residents to know more about it, in particular that although Lyme is very difficult to diagnose and treat, effective treatment is possible.  However, because the Lyme test often gives false negatives, many doctors don’t treat it, as Megan’s experience showed.

I think a false negative is especially likely when the person has had the Lyme infection for some time (a condition sometimes called chronic Lyme, versus acute Lyme). Although many doctors do not accept that chronic Lyme exists and will not treat unless the test is positive, Virginia law now requires all doctors to inform their patients taking the Lyme test that the test may give a false negative, which is a significant step forward in dealing with this terrible, insidious and debilitating disease.  

The articles were very clear, helpful and well-written, and they will hopefully raise awareness of Lyme here in the county. Awareness is the first step in dealing effectively with the disease. Thank you for publishing the articles, and thank you to Megan for writing them.

Richard Reidinger

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