By Tonya Mott, Vice President of Operations
The month of May is Lyme Disease Awareness month so I figured it’s the perfect time to advocate for my loved ones suffering from the disease and spread awareness.
Last May I wrote a blog post describing my good friend’s battle with Lyme disease and shortly after my husband was diagnosed with the same illness. You can read the article here: Lyme Disease – The Great Imitator
Given our current situation with COVID-19, I’ve wanted to learn more about pandemics and epidemics. What is the difference between the two and how does COVID-19 compare to Cancer, Cardiovascular disease, and Lyme disease. I came across this article: Parallel Pandemics: Covid-19 and Lyme Disease.
Here’s a few excerpts that I found helpful or fascinating:
EPIDEMIC VS. PANDEMIC:
When the amount of disease in a community rises above an expected level, it becomes epidemic in nature, with sudden increases in the number of cases over a larger geographic area than anticipated. Sometimes, an epidemic stays contained to a specific area—but when it extends into other countries and spreads across continents, it becomes a full-blown pandemic.
IS LYME DISEASE A PANDEMIC LIKE COVID-19?
Arguably, yes. (I am paraphrasing.)
HOW ARE PANDEMICS TREATED DIFFERENTLY?
When epidemics evolve into pandemics, the biggest difference is that more governments are involved in and more financial resources – public and private – dedicated to preventing the progression of the disease and, potentially, treating the people who have it. Unfortunately, this is where similarities between COVID-19 and Lyme disease diverge. Unlike for COVID-19, there is no concerted and comprehensive effort to stem the global increase in TBDs (Tick-borne diseases) or to treat patients suffering from them.
Although Lyme disease patients do not suffer the same infection and mortality rates as those with COVID-19, the long-term consequences of prior infection associated Lyme disease can encompass arthritis, carditis, and neurological complications, particularly cognitive deficit and neuropsychiatric disorders. Collectively, such debilitating and chronic symptomatology leads to diminished quality of life and the increased likelihood of depression and suicidality.
In my attempt to understand our reaction to COVID-19 in comparison to other diseases, I also came across this chart (https://ourworldindata.org/cancer):
Disclaimer, I’m not trying to minimize COVID-19, I’m just trying to understand how it compares to other diseases as far the world’s response, the government’s role, and our own personal steps taken to mitigate the spread. My only conclusion is, if we can come together like we are now to stop a novel coronavirus then imagine the differences we could make in slowing the spread of these other diseases.