Elizabeth Large Featured in Press Democrat Article on Lyme Disease

Lucia Montiel, 9, uses a wheelchair to move around her Sonoma coast home since being diagnosed with Lyme disease (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

Lucia Montiel, 9, uses a wheelchair to move around her Sonoma coast home since being diagnosed with Lyme disease (John Burgess/The Press Democrat)

Lyme disease leaves victims frustrated, searching for answers

Excerpted from an article by MARTIN ESPINOZA

Treating these infections is like working in the dark,” said Large, adding that ticks can cause multiple infections. “You’re looking to find the light switch. Hopefully, the more you treat, you start to get a clearer picture of the infections the patient has.

Although tick activity is high in the spring and early summer, ticks are active yearlong, Holbrook ( Sonoma County deputy health officer) said. County officials said Lyme disease is endemic in Sonoma County, with 81 cases between 2005 and 2014, which meets the surveillance case definition under CDC standards.

That figure, however, is a “gross underrepresentation” of the number of Lyme and associated diseases in the county, said Elizabeth Large, a naturopathic physician with Eric Gordon Medical Associates, a Santa Rosa-based practice that specializes in treating chronic disorders such as Lyme disease, arthritis and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Based on the volume of patients seen by her practice, Large said, the number of Lyme infections and associated co-infections during that 10-year period is probably in “the thousands.”

She said determining whether someone has Lyme disease is based on a clinical diagnosis, one that takes into account the totality of patients’ symptoms and their medical history. Earlier this week, Large, who has expertise in pediatric Lyme, saw Luccia for the first time at her medical office in northeast Santa Rosa. Luccia’s grandmother and mother discussed the once-active girl’s medical history, including her bout with the illness and the battery of tests and treatments she’s undergone since February.

“She sometimes can’t tell you what she’s had for breakfast,” Zablocki said.

Luccia was bit in the head by a tick in kindergarten in 2013, but the tick was not properly removed. Its body was removed, but the head was left attached, Zablocki said, adding that the girl was also bit by a tick last summer but that tick was removed.

In most cases, the western blacklegged tick must be attached for 36 to 48 hours before the Lyme disease bacterium can be transmitted, according to the CDC. The disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and a characteristic skin rash that looks like a bullseye.

Untreated, the infection can spread to joints, the nervous system and the heart. The CDC says Lyme disease is diagnosed through symptoms, the appearance of such things as a rash and a history of exposure to infected ticks.

After her examination of Luccia, Large said the girl’s varying symptoms pointed to both Lyme and a different infection caused by the bacterium Bartonella, and she changed up the mix of antibiotics.

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ILADEF’s Pioneer Award to be given to a “Ray of Hope” Charles Ray Jones

Dr. Charles ray Jones MD, Pediatric Lyme DiseaseEach year, the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Educational Foundation (ILADEF) hosts a gala charity dinner to raise funds to support its Physician Training Program, Lyme Basics Course and other educational and training programs presented regionally and internationally. As part of the annual event, ILADEF honors a professional for his or her dedication to the advancement of the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses.

This year, ILADEF will present the Pioneer Award to Charles “Ray” Jones, MD, the pediatrician who has been a Ray of Hope to thousands of children and their parents who struggle with the consequences of Lyme and other associated diseases. [Read more…]


Whole Families with Lyme Disease

Elizabeth Large, NDElizabeth Large ND

This summer I spent 10 days in Pennsylvania and Connecticut on a mission to learn how two well known Lyme literate doctors treat pediatric Lyme disease. This preceptorship is made possible by an ILADS scholarship for those wanting to expand their knowledge in treating Lyme disease. The first three days were spent with Dr. Ann Corson (see a slideshow of Dr. Corson’s practice philosophy) who practices in a town barely making the map in rural Pennsylvania. Dr. Corson is an integrative doctor who treats both adults and children. She has incorporated a well rounded natural approach as well as using antibiotics as needed.  I was impressed at her advanced knowledge in natural medicine and her open-mindedness to

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Children at Risk for Lyme Disease

Elizabeth Large, NDBy Elizabeth Large, ND

Children are being misdiagnosed too frequently when they actually have Chronic Lyme Disease (CLD) or Tick Borne Disease (TBD). It is very important that parents, teachers, school administrators, school health professionals, pediatricians, mental health professionals and family members learn to understand the signs and symptoms of Lyme Disease. It is an epidemic and children are at high risk for contracting TBD. We need to identify both acute and chronic, persistent TBD. Acute infection is defined as infection for less than a year and easily treated with 6-12 weeks of antibiotics depending on the symptoms present. If a Bull’s Eye rash does occur then it is diagnostic of LD. Unfortunately only 15-30% of the time a Bull’s Eye rash occurs and other types of rash can present and not only around the tick bite site. The chronic form of CLD can be devastating and difficult to eradicate. It impacts all body systems especially the immune system, hormonal system and nervous system. The body begins to respond inappropriately creating further symptoms that can be painful and debilitating.

The primary take home message with children is that their symptoms can be subtle and easily written off as growing pains or increased emotional sensitivity until there is frank disability. Then they lose their normal childhood of playing with friends, participating in school activities, and other recreation outside of school. They lose the energy to lead normal lives. They become too sick.

[Read more…]