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Research has also shown that Lyme bacteria can cross the placenta, both infecting and causing harm to unborn children. More research is needed to better understand the extent of this mode of transmission

The Patient Centered Care Advocacy Group (PCCAG) filed a complained against the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) for a publication on their website entitled Ten Facts You Should Know About Lyme Disease. The article claimed that “Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi that is only transmitted to humans when they are bitten by an infected tick.” PCCAG’s President Bruce Fries stated that the statement is false, as it is proven that Lyme disease can be transmitted from a mother to her fetus, resulting in negative health effects.  The CDC and US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) both acknowledge this mode of transmission. 

The significance of this error is highlighted in Fries’s statement, “IDSA’s publication of inaccurate information on the transmission of Lyme disease has the potential to contribute to misdiagnosis of children who were infected in utero, but whose signs and symptoms after birth are not recognized as Lyme disease, and were therefore not attributed to maternal infection with Borrelia. Recently, NIH issued a notice that prompts research on “gestational Lyme disease” and the impact of pregnancy on immune response. The push for research could have been hindered by IDSA’s publication, as researchers who trust IDSA for information would be less likely to submit grant applications based on those inaccurate facts about Lyme transmission. 

PCCAG is pushing for IDSA to replace the statement with:

Lyme disease is caused by bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi that is primarily transmitted to humans when they are bitten by an infected tick. Research has also shown that Lyme bacteria can cross the placenta, both infecting and causing harm to unborn children. More research is needed to better understand the extent of this mode of transmission.”

In addition to altering the text, PCCAG is calling for IDSA to alert its members about various opportunities for NIH funding and research support for studies on gestational Lyme disease, as they can now create a positive impact from a once injurious situation.

 IDSA is currently involved in a federal antitrust lawsuit that claims they conspired to publish false guidelines for Lyme disease that would assist insurance companies deny coverage for chronic cases. 

 

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