Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection from one of the many types of ticks; the bacterium come from the genus Borrelia. Borrelia (Burgdorferi) is a spirochetal bacterium, and can infect multiple body systems. Its diagnosis and treatment are a controversial topic in today’s modern medicine. In order to contract Lyme disease, one has to be bitten by a tick, and the tick attached to the host must be positive for one of the many strains of Borrelia. The bacterium then is transferred to the host’s blood stream via the bite.

As the infection spreads, you may have
  • A fever
  • Migrane
  • Muscle and joint aches/arthritis
  • A stiff neck
  • Tiredness/fatigue
  • Sore throat

A rash occurs in nearly 70% of all the inflicted at the location of the bite, and normally takes the shape of a bulls-eye. Once the patient is infected, it is common for him/her to experience strong “flu-like” symptoms. A healthy regiment of anti-bacterials is the recommended treatment, and delayed treatment can lead to chronic, more severe symptoms. Diagnosis of later stage Lyme disease is often masquerading with a multifaceted appearance rooted in non-specific symptoms. Some physicians refer to the Lyme bacteria as “the great imitator”.

Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed based on the patient’s symptoms alone. It is important for physicians to ask the right clinical questions in order to rule out the possibility of Lyme disease. As of right now, CDSS systems and other related health technology are not doing a sufficient job of assisting the diagnosis of Lyme disease in patients. There is a lot of data being stored regarding incorrect illnesses individuals are diagnosed with, when they are actually suffering from Lyme disease. When the diagnosis of Lyme’s disease is finally reached, it’s not uncommon for the individual to have seen many different physicians.
The information stored securely regarding the patient’s previous inaccurate diagnoses isn’t often deleted even after being informed of the new diagnosis from another practitioner. This information is skewing the prognosis and diagnosis of other symptom-related diseases, causing a concern for data integrity amongst patients and facilities. A standardized EHR record would be most beneficial in addressing this problem. This, although unintended, is one of the biggest steps to tracing and recognizing the many faces and effects of Lyme disease. The “standardized EHR and interoperability”, will lead to better care for Lyme disease patients and the entire population’s public health. (Frisdma,D)
There is great controversy regarding the last stage of the illness, “late-stage lyme disease”. The CDC has guidelines in effect for treating the disease that are the same as they were decades ago, although there has been much opposing research and clinical information surfacing in the past decade. The CDC estimates that nearly “300,000 people” and more are infected every year (Fox, Maggie). Lyme disease is now a public health crisis, and most physicians are encouraged to diagnose, treat and prevent Lyme disease in an extremely traditional fashion. Health information technology like CDSS, Electronic Literature, Glossaries, are filled with and are facilitators to old, unchanged guidelines to treat and diagnosis Lyme disease.

Web Resources
Lyme Disease CDC
American Lyme Disease Foundation
Medline Plus Lyme Disease

Related Terminology
Rocky Spotted Mountain Fever
Tick-borne Disease


Frisdma, D. (2013, January 31). EHR Interoperability: The Structured Data Capture Initiative. Retrieved October 28, 2014.

Fox, M. (2014, August 19). Lyme disease infects 300,000 a year, CDC says - NBC News. Retrieved October 28, 2014.

Lyme Disease: MedlinePlus. (2014, October 2). Retrieved October 28, 2014.

Image 1 (tick)

Image 2 (bacteria)