“Fake news” charges do not give credit to the Lyme disease community

Thousands of professionals have been working earnestly to understand Lyme disease. The Lyme disease professional community should take credit for the following findings.


by Daniel J. Cameron, MD MPH

  1. Polly Murray’s children and neighbors suffered from Lyme disease rather than Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.
  2. Alan Steere described a cluster of adolescents and adults with Lyme disease in Lyme Connecticut.
  3. William Burgdorfer discovered Borrelia burgdorferi in the midgut of the Ixodes scapularis tick.
  4. James Krause discovered Babesia microti in the same ticks.
  5. Eric Logigian described chronic neurologic Lyme and Lyme encephalopathy in Lyme disease patients despite antibiotic treatment.

In a recent article in the American Journal of Medicine, Drs. Shapiro, Baker, and Wormser cite examples of tests which failed to prove persistent infection and sexual transmission of the Lyme bacterium. [1] The authors highlight the ineffectiveness of such tests.

These doctors, however, could have cited examples of where the two-tier diagnostic test failed in both human and animal models. They also could have discussed studies which found Lyme disease patients suffer from chronic illness despite treatment. [2,3]

Instead, Drs. Shapiro, Baker and Wormser argue that the problem is not Lyme disease but “fake research,” “fake blood cultures,” “fake diagnoses, and “fake laboratory research.” [1] The authors even suggest that legislators stop passing laws to protect physicians who treat Lyme disease. “This makes it difficult for medical review boards to safeguard public health by disciplining those who put patients at risk,” they state.

If the medical community wishes to broaden its knowledge of Lyme disease, it would be more reasonable to give credit to the Lyme disease community which has worked tirelessly to understand this complex disease. Articles that claim Lyme disease patients, advocates, and professionals are pushing “fake news” does little to further our knowledge and advance patient care.



  1. Shapiro ED, Baker PJ, Wormser GP: False and Misleading Information about Lyme Disease. Am J Med 2017.
  2. Weitzner E, Visintainer P, Wormser GP: Comparison of males versus females with culture-confirmed early Lyme disease at presentation and at 11-20 years after diagnosis. Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis 2016.
  3. Logigian EL, Kaplan RF, Steere AC: Chronic neurologic manifestations of Lyme disease. N Engl J Med 1990, 323(21):1438-1444.

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BarbaraLynn Shepler, MD JDShandeeTCSue McDougall Recent comment authors
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The damage these other Doctors are causing unfortunately goes beyond medical. Family members of lyme patients would rather believe that we are ‘cured’ and that there is no such thing as chronic lyme. This creates just as much damage as the disease itself. It is hard enough to fight the disease and medical community without having to ‘fight’ the people who should be fighting with you. Unfortunately it is easier to believe the lies than fight for truth. Thank you Dr Cameron and all the other llmds that fight for us in the medical community! Keep fighting the good fight… Read more »

Lynn Shepler, MD JD
Lynn Shepler, MD JD

As a person interested in legal responses to the twisted, self-interested, and financially conflicted publications by Wormser et al, I am galled by this statement quoted above from their most recent publication: “This makes it difficult for medical review boards to safeguard public health by disciplining those who put patients at risk.” I don’t know how any physician cannot read this as a veiled threat — whether they are conscious of the threat, or it slips in subconsciously. From a legal standpoint, it is a form of intimidation, and also a challenge to physicians’ First Amendment rights to free speech… Read more »


Definitely need more research and better diagnostics! Thanks for the post.


Thanks Dr. C! You always have our backs and it is very much appreciated! Hugs to you and yours.
If interested, my response can be found by our less sensitive and less politically correct friends at this link. (Although, if the Wormser article didn’t turn your stomach inside out, mine probably won’t either.)



Thank you TC! Great article!

Sue McDougall
Sue McDougall

Typical IDSA Propoganda

Brian Carroll
Brian Carroll

I presented to a Connecticut ER in 1994 with a large expanding dark red, smooth-bordered, round rash behind my knee accompanied by intermittent fevers and chills x 2 weeks. The ER doctors thought maybe a tick bite caused this but ended up going with a possible spider bite and they prescribed a treatment that has no effectiveness against the Lyme disease causative bacteria. Two weeks later I passed out while driving my car due to new heart problems. I felt fluttering and skipping beats, some were very pronounced. I was taken to the same ER where they did not make… Read more »