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Patients Protest Honoring of Allen Steere, M.D., at American Lyme Disease Foundation (ALDF) Gala

    NEW YORK, May 31 /PRNewswire/ -- An organized protest of Lyme disease
sufferers and Lyme community representatives has been scheduled as a Vigil
outside The Hotel Pierre, 2 East 61st Street, New York City, on June 1, from
5:45 to 7:30 PM.  The hotel is the site of an ALDF gala honoring Allen Steere,
M.D.  Protest participants indicate that Allen Steere's school of thought,
which states that Lyme disease is "overdiagnosed and overtreated," promotes
narrow, ethically suspect viewpoints and medical guidelines which ignore a
growing body of scientific evidence and patient tragedy.
    Steere, who has been credited with "identifying" Lyme disease a quarter
century ago, has aggressively insisted that most cases of Lyme disease can be
successfully treated with only 30 days of antibiotics, and if symptoms
persist, they are probably caused by "something else."  His guidelines are
popular with insurance companies and widespread dissemination of these
guidelines has created an atmosphere in which Lyme disease patients have had
difficulty getting diagnoses and adequate treatment, particularly in advanced
or "late" stages.
    Disagreeing physicians, researchers and patients have suffered serious
adversity.  Insurers routinely discontinue or limit insurance coverage for
lyme disease, citing Steere's guidelines.  Protesters assert that accelerating
physician harassment has led to loss of licenses, censure, or restriction of
medical practice due to fear of sanctions if Steere's guidelines are not
followed.  They assert that the pool of doctors willing to treat Lyme disease
has shrunk to a critical level and many lyme disease patients are unable to
find or sustain adequate treatment.
    Lyme disease patients continue to suffer a multitude of disabling symptoms
such as brain damage, memory or cognitive difficulty, blindness, crippling
arthritis and even death.  Many have suffered debilitating chronic effects for
years despite insistence that short-term antibiotics cure Lyme disease.  In a
new turn of events several of these patients have filed complaints for
investigation of Steere by the Massachusetts Board of Registration in
    The Lyme community will hold a solemn Vigil to express publicly their
indignation at the honoring of this physician who it is felt has caused
adversity and suffering to so many lives.  Patients will gather outside The
Hotel Pierre and "show and tell" how their lives have been affected by the
academically stringent guidelines promulgated by Steere.
    Lyme disease, a tick-borne infection, rivals AIDS as the fastest growing
infectious disease in the US. With over 16,000 cases reported in 1998, the
actual figure may easily be 10 times that according to the CDC.  Although
publicized chiefly on the East coast, Lyme disease occurs nationwide as well
as worldwide and is endemic in states across the USA.
    "Steere's Lyme disease guidelines remain predominant primarily due to
political and historical directive and not from rational science, clinical
experience and patient perspective.  The honoring of this individual who holds
academic status over patient welfare cannot be condoned." - Rita L. Stanley,
Ph.D., patient advocate.

SOURCE Voices of Lyme


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