Elizabeth 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
all approaches. In two days I saw two families with Lyme, one from Canada and the other from the UK. Both mothers had Lyme and had passed it to their children through pregnancy. All were doing very well and making great progress in their treatment.
To take advantage of my stay in Amish country, Pennsylvania, I stayed at rural farms where I enjoyed feeding baby goats and watching the Amish drive by in horse and buggies. As a California girl, I was unprepared for the degree of heat and humidity, which put a slight damper on my sightseeing enthusiasm. However I did make it to the Wolf Sanctuary in Lititz, an outdoor Lyle Lovett outdoor concert in Brooklyn, and sundown strolls around the incredibly beautiful campus of Yale.
The following week I spent with Dr. Charles Ray Jones, a pediatrician specializing in Lyme, in New Haven, Connecticut. It was such an honor to work next to him, and witness his incredible commitment to treat these sick children, putting his own career at risk. At 83, he works 6 days a week and gives his all to his patients. Similar to Dr. Corson’s office, it was common to see a whole families with Lyme coming from different parts of the country. It appears that there are no states where Lyme does not exist. Many patients traveled from Arizona and Texas. Most stated that their pediatricians were not willing to prescribe antibtiotics for these kids. A parent from Texas, who works as an epidemiologist, reported that a recent study of random ticks in Texas found 1 in 4 were infected with Borrelia. (California rates run between 2%-15% of ticks being infected, depending on location and stage of the tick, with nymphal ticks having the highest infection rates.)
In most areas of northern California where Lyme disease occurs, only about 1 to 2% of the adult Ixodes pacificus ticks and 2 to 15% of the nymphal ticks, on average, are infected with Borrelia burgdorferi. However, Lyme disease transmission risk can be highly localized. In one woodland site in Mendocino County, for example, 41% of the nymphs were found to contain Lyme disease bacteria.
The most common symptoms seen in children are: optical convergence insufficiency, fatigue, stomach aches, headaches, learning disabilities, ADD, anxiety, and exercise intolerance. The majority of these children were Igenex labs positive for at least Borrelia and put on antibiotics for 2-6 years, gradually improving over time. It was inspiring to see these children’s lives returning after treatment. I could only think about all the children that are going untreated for Lyme and co-infections and/or being put on unnecessary medications. When you witness the difference that an antibiotic can make in the lives of these children, it becomes important to rule out all possibility of tick borne disease. I am grateful for this wonderful learning opportunity with these accomplished doctors and look forward to helping many children with Lyme.
Does your family have multiple members who are infected? What issues have you had to face in getting diagnosed, or in treatment when everyone is ill? Do you suspect your children may be infected?
Resources for Pediatric Lyme Disease
A Feeling for the Organism – Pamela Weintraub
In Short Order: Blog Talk Radio – Dr. Ann Cordon MD – audio
Lyme Disease: a Psychotherapy Perspective – Lynne Canon, CSW-R , BCD and Sandy Berenbaum, CSW-R, BCD
Neurological Manifestations of Lyme Disease In Children – Dorothy M. Pietrucha, M.D., P.A.
Neuropsychiatric Manifestations of Tick Borne Disease – Ann F Corson MD
Pregnancy and Tick-borne Diseases: Gestational Lyme – Charles Ray Jones, MD – video
Rationale for Prolonged Antibiotic Therapy in Treating Lyme Disease – Charles Ray Jones, MD
The Pillaging of Personalities: Our Kids Are Being Hijacked by Spirochetes – Virginia Sherr MD
What Everyone Needs to Know About Pediatric Lyme Disease – Ann F. Corson MD