History of Lyme Disease
The history of Lyme disease in the United States began in the 1970s when a mysterious and deadly illness began infecting children in a small town in Connecticut. Today it’s a global epidemic. In actuality, it is thought that Lyme’s may have begun in Europe over a century ago. Academy Award semifinalist exposes the controversy in this real-life thriller that surrounds the growing and hidden epidemic and history of Lyme disease.
The history of Lyme Disease explained in this article by niaid.nih.gov, which is no longer available, begins in the 1970’s in Lyme, CT.
The Basic History Of Lyme Disease By NIAID
In the early 1970s, a mysterious group of rheumatoid arthritis cases occurred among children in Lyme, Connecticut, and two neighboring towns. Puzzled, researchers looked at several possible causes, such as contact with germs (microbes) in water or air. Realizing that most of the children with arthritis lived and played near wooded areas, they then focused their attention on deer ticks.
Researchers knew that the children’s first symptoms typically started during the summer, the height of tick season. Several children reported having a skin rash just before developing arthritis, and many of them recalled being bitten by a tick where the rash appeared. By the mid-1970s, researchers began describing the signs and symptoms of this new disease, now termed Lyme disease, to help physicians diagnose patients.
However, it was not until 1981 that NIAID researchers at Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, Montana, identified the cause of Lyme disease and discovered the connection between the deer tick and the disease. European researchers had described a skin rash similar to that of Lyme disease in early 20th-century medical literature. Willy Burgdorfer, Ph.D., a NIAID scientist studying Rocky Mountain spotted fever, also caused by a tick bite, wondered whether the European rash, called erythema migrans (EM), and Lyme disease might have the same cause.
Along with his RML colleague Alan Barbour, M.D., Dr. Burgdorfer continued to study spiral-shaped bacteria, or spirochetes, from infected deer ticks. In November 1981, the two scientists found that a spirochete caused both Lyme disease and EM. The spirochete was later named Borrelia burgdorferi in honor of Dr. Burgdorfer’s role in its discovery.
History Of Lyme Disease In Other Parts Of the World
The history of Lyme Disease in other parts of the world is varied and non-conclusive as far as when the first case actually began. Many country medical professionals and governments are still denying Lyme’s existence. Many still hold onto the false reality that it is a disease that is only prevalent in America. That myth is slowly being disintegrated as more cases are cropping up and more people are speaking out to get help. It appears possible that the history of Lyme’s disease, due to its symptoms mimicking so many other diseases, may have been around many decades or even longer.