CDC: Don’t Report “Chronic Lyme Disease”

CDC: Don’t Report “Chronic Lyme Disease”

The Washington Post reports, June 15, “Dangerous unproven treatments for ‘chronic Lyme disease’ are on the rise.” According to the Post, patients are being “prescribed dangerous and often expensive treatments that do not work,” citing a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to the CDC report, the term “chronic Lyme disease” is a misnomer “… used by some health care providers as a diagnosis for various constitutional, musculoskeletal, and neuropsychiatric symptoms.”

The “dangerous unproven treatments” the Post refers to include long courses of intravenous (IV) antibiotics, IV infusions of hydrogen peroxide, immunoglobulin therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, electromagnetic frequency treatments, garlic supplements, colloidal silver, and stem cell transplants.

“Studies have not shown that such treatments lead to substantial long-term improvement for patients, and they can be harmful,” the CDC report says. The report includes documented cases of septic shock, ostemoyelitis, Clostridium difficile colitis, and paraspinal abscess resulting from long-term IV antibiotics.

Recognize the Symptoms

Lyme disease is caused by infection with the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, spread through the bite of infected ticks. Early signs of infection include erythema migrans (an erythematous skin lesion with a bull’s-eye or homogeneous appearance), fever, headache, and fatigue. The recommended treatment for Lyme disease is generally a 2–4-week course of antibiotics.

Coding Lyme Disease

In the ICD-10-CM codebook, Lyme disease is classified in Chapter 1: Certain Infectious and Parasitic Diseases, category A69 Other spirochetal infections:

A69.2 Lyme disease
Erythema chronicum migrans due to Borrelia burgdorferi
A69.20 Lyme disease, unspecified

Below it are codes for conditions caused by Lyme disease, such as meningitis (A69.21), other neurologic disorders (A69.22), and arthritis (A69.23).

According to Christina Nelson, a medical epidemiologist and author of the CDC report released June 15, neither the CDC nor the National Institutes of Health recommends using the diagnosis “chronic Lyme disease,” the Post reports.

Nelson also warns against posers. “Clinicians who call themselves ‘Lyme literate’ are often self-anointed; there is no special training program and no requirement to be board certified in infectious disease.”


Citation:

code-books-shipping

Marzec NS, Nelson C, Waldron PR, et al. Serious Bacterial Infections Acquired During Treatment of Patients Given a Diagnosis of Chronic Lyme Disease — United States. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;66:607–609. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6623a3https://www.cdc.gov/Other/disclaimer.html.

 

Renee Dustman
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Renee Dustman

Executive Editor at AAPC
Renee Dustman, BS, AAPC MACRA Proficient, is an executive editor at AAPC. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Media Communications - Journalism. Renee has more than 20 years experience in print production and content management. Follow her on Twitter @dustman_aapc.
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Renee Dustman, BS, AAPC MACRA Proficient, is an executive editor at AAPC. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Media Communications - Journalism. Renee has more than 20 years experience in print production and content management. Follow her on Twitter @dustman_aapc.

One Response to “CDC: Don’t Report “Chronic Lyme Disease””

  1. Julie says:

    My daughter had chronic Lyme disease and when treated properly with antibiotics, herbals and homeopathic medicine she recovered. Yes. Some treatments don’t work and harmful treatments must be stopped, but we must not leave patients to suffer and tell them that there is nothing wrong with them. This article is troubling to me as my daughter would not be walking today without practitioners who believe in “chronic Lyme Disease.”

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