Decades of rigorous research has resulted in an overwhelming scientific consensus about Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment.

The scientific consensus was reflected in an exhaustive 2010 review of the 2006 “Lyme Disease, Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis, and Babesiosis Clinical Practice Guidelines” published by the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA). The review was conducted by an independent scientific panel where an independent ombudsman certified each member as being free from conflicts of interest.

The independent panel unanimously upheld each of the 2006 recommendations after holding an all-day public hearing and considering 1,025 references. Among other things, the panel concluded:

  • In the case of Lyme disease, inherent risks of long-term antibiotic therapy were not justified by clinical benefit.
  • To date, there is no convincing biologic evidence for the existence of symptomatic chronic B. burgdorferi infection among patients after receipt of recommended treatment regimens for Lyme disease.

The American Academy of Pediatrics said it more simply:

“Chronic Lyme disease” is not a medical diagnosis.

Since 2010, the scientific consensus has only grown stronger. For example, the Dutch PLEASE trial became the sixth randomized controlled trial showing that Lyme disease patients do not benefit from long term antibiotics. In contrast, the anti-science group ILADS admits all twelve of its recommendations are based on “very low-quality evidence”.

Of course, the vast majority of people diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease never had Lyme disease in the first place, so any treatment for presumed Lyme disease would be inappropriate. Most victims of chronic Lyme quackery have received multiple fake diagnoses, and their stories contain many red flags.

In 2010, the Healthcare Protection Agency of UK–after noting the vulnerability of patients “desperate for an explanation and possible cure for their illnesses”– issued scathing conclusions about guidelines issued by ILADS:

  • The ILADS guidelines are not evidence-based and are poorly constructed.
  • Application of the ILADS guidelines’ poorly defined case definitions will result in a very high risk of misdiagnosis.
  • Use of ILADS guidelines’ vague treatment recommendations, including prolonged use of antibiotics, has potentially serious consequences.
  • Patients misdiagnosed with Lyme disease risk losing opportunities for diagnosis and treatment of other conditions. They also risk serious physical, psychological social and financial adverse events.

Moreover, there is now compelling evidence that the duration of antibiotics can be shorter, in some circumstances, than those recommended in 2006 and 2010. These new recommendations are presented on the CDC web site, in a 2016 JAMA evidence review (pdf mirror), and in the 2019 IDSA Draft Lyme guidelines.

🌍 Experts agree around the world 🌎

Below are medical and science groups that support the scientific consensus about diagnosing and treating Lyme disease:

Studies show scientific consensus

Connecticut, USA study

A 2010 survey of Connecticut primary care physicians found 98% indicated they neither diagnosed nor treated presumed chronic Lyme disease.

British Study

In 2010, Dr. Sue O’Connell, a microbiologist who headed the Health Protection Agency Lyme Borreliosis Unit in the UK, performed a survey of Lyme diagnosis and treatment guidelines from 16 groups of medical experts in Europe and North America. She noted:

There is overall agreement regarding the clinical features of Lyme borreliosis and on the requirement for supporting laboratory evidence of a clinical diagnosis of later-stage infection. Two-tier serological testing, with immunoblot as a second-stage test, is currently recommended in most guidelines and reviews.

and:

No evidence-based European or North American guideline recommends prolonged or multiple courses of antibiotics for persistent symptoms following previously treated Lyme disease.

French Study

In 2018, a French review of European and American Lyme diagnostic guidelines noted “a global consensus.” This review concluded:

Contrary to the intense debate taking place on the Internet and in the European and American media, our analysis shows that the great majority of medical scientific guidelines with a high quality score, agree on the clinical diagnostic methods of Lyme disease.

Of the 16 guidelines reviewed in 2018 from 7 countries, only the guidelines of the pseudoscience group German Borreliosis Society (Deutsche Borreliose-Gesellschaft, DBG) were an outlier. DBG’s guidelines received the lowest quality score, 1. Similar to its America-based counterpart ILADS but unlike mainstream organizations, DBG recommended non-standard testing and defined a “chronic stage” of Lyme disease.

Presumably ILADS is not in the French review because it does not have any published diagnostic guidelines.

Other good sources

  • U of Rhode Island TickEncounter Resource Center
  • State and province public health departments
  • Science-based doctors board certified in infectious disease, neurology, rheumatology, psychiatry, dermatology, pediatrics, and Allergy and Immunology

LymeScience resources

Sources to avoid because they deny the scientific consensus

A 2004 study of web sites about Lyme disease revealed many that promoted inaccurate information. Web sites with information determined to be inaccurate tended to have the word “Lyme” in their names and included LymeDisease.org, IgeneX, ILADS, and Lyme Disease Association.

Sadly, the epidemic of misinformation about Lyme disease has only grown since 2004.

In 2017, March for Science had to cut ties with a pseudoscience group that falsely claimed to be representative of Lyme patients.

In 2018, scientists in the Department of Dermatology at Johns Hopkins University reported that sites such as Lymedisease.org are spreading inaccurate information about Bartonella, which is not a tick-borne disease or coinfection of Lyme disease.

We recommend avoiding the following groups:

  • International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS)  [see the review from the UK’s Health Protection Agency]
  • LymeDisease.org
  • Global Lyme Alliance
  • Bay Area Lyme
  • Lyme Disease Association
  • IgeneX
  • NatCapLyme- The National Capital Lyme Disease Association
  • Stand4Lyme
  • Lyme Innovation
  • PA Lyme Resource Network
  • Lyme Action Network
  • Colorado Tick-Borne Disease Awareness Association
  • LivLyme Foundation
  • Focus on Lyme
  • Partnership for Tick-borne Diseases Education and Lymecme.info
  • Project Lyme
  • Lyme Disease Foundation (Not to be confused with the science-based organization American Lyme Disease Foundation)
  • The Mayday Project
  • Midcoast Lyme Disease Support & Education
  • Lyme Society, Inc.
  • Florida Lyme Disease Association
  • Lyme Connection
  • LymeLight Foundation
  • LymeHope
  • Children’s Lyme Disease Network
  • Twin Cities Lyme Foundation
  • Minnesota Lyme Association
  • Alex Hudson Lyme Foundation
  • Lyme Treatment Foundation
  • The Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation
  • The Lyme Center
  • LymeLilli Foundation
  • Sam’s Spoons Foundation
  • Lyme Disease Challenge
  • The Mighty
  • Tick Wise Education
  • Institute for Functional Medicine
  • American Academy of Environmental Medicine
  • American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine
  • American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M)
  • Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
  • CanLyme – Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation
  • Canadian Lyme Science Alliance (CLSA) and Canadian Lyme Consortium
  • Association québécoise de la maladie de Lyme (AQML)
  • Enfance Lyme Québec
  • Caudwell LymeCo
  • Lyme Disease UK
  • Lyme Disease Action UK
  • Academy of Nutritional Medicine (AONM)
  • Karl McManus Foundation
  • German Borreliosis Society (Deutsche Borreliose-Gesellschaft)
  • Chronimed
  • Fédération Française contre les Maladies Vectorielles à Tiques (FFMVT)
  • France Lyme
  • Le droit de guérir
  • NorVect – The Nordic Network for Vector-borne Diseases
  • Lyme Disease Association of Australia  [There is no compelling evidence you can contract real Lyme disease in Australia.]
  • MSIDS Inc.
  • The International Society for Environmentally Acquired Illness (ISEAI)
  • Any other so-called Lyme patient group (other than this web site and the ALDF)
  • Lyme community videos such as Under Our Skin
  • Unscientific medicine practitioners, including those who market themselves using the following terminology: Lyme literate, integrative, functional, alternative, complementary, Traditional Chinese Medicine, holistic, natural, Biological, Ayurvedic, chiropractic, naprapathic, homeopathic, anti-aging, and naturopathic.
  • Any organization listed by Quackwatch in their list of questionable organizations
  • Academic centers that receive substantial funding and other support from chronic Lyme advocates, including:
    • Columbia University Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center
    • University of New Haven Lyme Disease Research Group
    • The Dean Center for Tick Borne Illness
    • Mount Allison University Lyme Research Network
    • G. Magnotta Lyme Disease Research Lab at University of Guelph