Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic
, Oct 13, 2009
- 432 pages
A groundbreaking and controversial narrative investigation into the science, history, medical politics, and patient experience of Lyme disease told by a science journalist whose entire family contracted the disease.Pamela Weintraub paints a nuanced picture of the intense controversy and crippling uncertainty surrounding Lyme disease and sheds light on one of the angriest medical disputes raging today. She also reveals her personal odyssey through the land of Lyme after she, her husband and their two sons became seriously ill with the disease beginning in the 1990s. From the microbe causing the infection and the definition of the disease, to the length and type of treatment and the kind of practitioner needed, Lyme is a hotbed of contention. With a CDC-estimated 200,000-plus new cases of Lyme disease a year, it has surpassed both AIDS and TB as the fastest-spreading infectious disease in the U.S. Yet alarmingly, in many cases, because the disease often eludes blood tests and not all patients exhibit the classic "bulls-eye" rash and swollen joints, doctors are woefully unable or unwilling to diagnose Lyme. When that happens, once-treatable infections become chronic, inexorably disseminating to cause disabling conditions that may never be cured. Weintraub reveals why the Lyme epidemic has been allowed to explode, why patients are dismissed, and what can be done to raise awareness in the medical community and find a cure. The most comprehensive book ever written about the past, present and future of Lyme disease, this exposes the ticking clock of a raging epidemic.