TOUCHED BY LYME: Why wait for 3 negative COVID tests to consider Lyme disease?
A Massachusetts resident named Mary Carey has written an important opinion column in her local newspaper, the Greenfield Reporter.
In it, she tells how in July, her husband took ill with a raft of serious symptoms–including pillow-soaking sweats, violent chills, head and neck aches. and extreme fatigue.
Although he had been vaccinated for COVID, there was worry he might be a “breakthrough” case. So, they tested him for COVID three different times–all negative.
Finally, on the 17th day of symptoms, an emergency room doctor decided to test him for tick-borne infections. He turned out to be positive for Lyme disease and babesiosis. (The sopping wet pillowcase was an important clue to the latter.) Anaplasmosis test results are still pending, but the doctor strongly suspects it as well.
Obviously, in the midst of the COVID pandemic and surge of its Delta variant, it’s easy to attribute any new symptoms to that. But, as Mary’s story proves, that’s a pitfall we should seek to avoid.
According to Mass.gov, the state’s website, “The most common tick-borne diseases in Massachusetts are Lyme disease, babesiosis, and anaplasmosis.”
It behooves the general public and their doctors to recognize that fact. Lyme and other tick-borne diseases can present with many of the same symptoms as COVID–fevers, chills, body aches and fatigue. Failing to confirm your first suspicion (COVID) shouldn’t preclude you from considering other possibilities.
TOUCHED BY LYME is written by Dorothy Kupcha Leland, LymeDisease.org’s Vice-president and Director of Communications. She is co-author of When Your Child Has Lyme Disease: A Parent’s Survival Guide. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.