Claudia Machado Cooke, MD, FACP, MPH  |  Health Through Understanding

Lyme and tick-borne disease

Lyme is a bacterial illness typically transmitted by certain tick species. Its classical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and a “bull’s eye” rash. However, fewer than 50% of people with Lyme disease recall either a tick bite or a rash. Its affects range from trivial to severe depending upon early diagnosis, the patient’s general health, (i.e., elderly, immunosuppressed, etc.), and the possible presence of other infections.  Occasionally, those afflicted with Lyme disease are also infected by other tick-borne infections such as Human Anaplasmosis (aka Human Granulocytic Ehrlichiosis; Human Monocytic Ehrlichiosis, Babesia , Bartonella, and possibly Mycoplasma fermentans.

The diagnosis is based chiefly on clinical history and examination, aided by lab studies. The traditional medical approach usually recommends several weeks’ antibiotic treatment.

Dr. Cooke, having completed a mini-fellowship sponsored by the ‘Turn the Corner foundation’ (www.turnthecorner.org) in collaboration with the ILADS group (www.ilads.org), has deepened her working knowledge of Lyme and related diseases. Antibiotic therapy is the mainstay of Dr. Cooke’s treatment for those infected with Lyme disease. Judicious use of probiotics, antioxidants, and nutritional strategies, can ease the side effects of antibiotic therapy. Referral to Lyme-literate practitioners, whether for second-opinion, psychiatry, or neuropsychological testing, is available for added patient support and assurance.