Teen's death a wake-up call for Lyme disease?
Official says: “We are sure that he had the infection (Lyme) — what role it played in his death is still being investigated.”
The Poughkeepsie Journal has been reporting on the tragic death of 17-year-old Joseph Elone, who died suddenly in August after having been sick for about a month with flu-like symptoms. Early in his illness, the young man tested negative for Lyme disease. After he died, health officials initially suspected tick-borne Powassan virus. That has since been ruled out and it has been determined that Joseph in fact had disseminated Lyme disease. However, so far, that has not been named as a cause of death.
The following remarks are from New York state Lyme activist Jill Auerbach, who lives in the same county as Joseph’s family:
They have dismissed Powassan encephalitis and found that Joseph was suffering from disseminated Lyme disease which invaded his heart. While they should find out if there were any extenuating circumstances to expand diagnostic measures, it is already two months since he died. That makes it appear that they are searching for reasons other than Lyme disease to blame as the cause of his death. Wouldn’t it have been nice if they (the doctors) paid as much attention to him while he was ALIVE and prevented Joseph from dying.
Most people (including medical professionals and scientists) recognize that the current tests are inadequate and unreliable which is why there is still research to develop better ones. Additionally, there are other diagnostic methods that can be used to detect Lyme disease. Furthermore, 30% of people do not get any rash from Lyme disease.
I question why his physician did not treat him based upon a clinical diagnosis, he had 2 weeks of out of doors exposure in a highly endemic area during prime tick season, followed by summer “virus” like symptoms that did not abate. My gosh this young otherwise healthy 17 year old teen was sick for a month, and he was not treated!
The CDC web site ( http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/diagnosistesting/index.html) states, Lyme disease is diagnosed based on:
Laboratory blood tests are helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods….
I just wish I had known Joseph when he was alive and might have helped the family get to a physician who would have treated him and perhaps prevented this tragedy from happening.
We should ALL be disturbed about this. JOSEPH SHOULD HAVE BEEN TREATED AND PERHAPS HE WOULD NOT HAVE DIED! Will physicians learn from this?
This was an extreme case. I ask, how many other people are likewise not properly diagnosed and treated? Others of us do not die but walk around sick, some just think it is aging, some are totally disabled, unable to work, and are ignored. Some do eventually die, from other health issues that were due to the long term effects of untreated, or under treated Lyme disease, but no one looks at them during autopsy to see that the real culprit was Lyme disease!
I cry for Joseph with his family. The Elone family deserves some peace, and it seems all the government is doing is trying to find other reasons for what’s obvious, he had untreated Lyme disease.
I hope this is a big wake-up call and that Joseph’s death leads to better treatment for others!
Hudson Valley Lyme Disease Association, Chairperson
Dutchess County Legislative Task Force on Tick and Lyme Disease Reduction, Member
Stop Ticks On People (S.T.O.P.), Board Member
Click here for more details from the Poughkeepsie Journal.
TOUCHED BY LYME is written by Dorothy Kupcha Leland, LymeDisease.org’s VP for Education and Outreach. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.