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U.S. doctors often confused about Lyme disease

Residents of New Mexico may be interested to learn about the confusion surrounding the diagnosis of Lyme disease. Due to a delayed diagnosis, one man from Boston suffered with the disease for almost a year after he was bitten by a tick. Although the man was infected with Lyme disease in Spain, his experience with doctors back home has exposed some of the problems surrounding Lyme disease diagnosis in the United States.

The man's 10-month battle with Lyme disease began when he noticed a tick on his ankle while taking a shower. After washing it off, the man hoped that he would not get sick. Two days later, however, he noticed a bull's eye rash where the tick had bitten him, which is characteristic of Lyme disease. He also began to suffer from a cough, fever and strange headaches that caused him severe anxiety.

The man suffered from Lyme disease for 10 months before his condition was properly diagnosed and treated. The reason for the delay was because he was only tested using the Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay and a Western blot. Both of these tests can only detect the presence of an infection caused by the most common species of tick. The man was properly diagnosed when he flew back to Europe to get the C6-based ELISA test, which can detect infections carried by up to 18 species of tick.

A delayed diagnosis of a medical condition can cause even more health problems for a patient who is already sick. After discovering that they have received the wrong medication or treatment, a misdiagnosed patient may wish to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctors who are liable. An attorney could help gather medical records and other evidence to support the patient's claim.

Source: Medical Daily, "Man's 10-Month Lyme Disease Stint Exposes Holes, Confusion With Treating It In The US", Anthony Rivas, July 08, 2014

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