Lyme disease cases are spiking as summer, also known as the tick season, kicks into high gear. Lyme disease is potentially life-threatening, and the CDC estimates the annual number of cases at half a million. But Health and Wellness educator Rick Martin cautions people that this number is thought to be on the low side as many cases are hidden and misdiagnosed. The diagnosis difficulties result from Lyme Disease Known as “The Great Imitator,” Lyme disease can mimic the symptoms of Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, MS, ALS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, as well as more than some 350 other diseases.
This unresolved “infection from Hell” are maddening for patients who must spend their time and money consulting with multiple doctors who prescribe an endless stream of antibiotics and other medications that do nothing to stem inflammation and ease the patient’s pain and discomfort.
“People needlessly suffer with persistent chronic infections because their doctors use 150-year-old culture testing, where samples are placed in petri dishes with the hope that whatever is causing the infection will grow there,” says Rick Martin, CEO of biotech diagnostics lab MicroGenDX. “These traditional culture tests have a 50% chance of showing nothing useful to clinicians – which means the doctor’s diagnosis and the medication prescribed will not be helpful. Tragically, some infective microbes are never diagnosed correctly – leaving the patient with an unresolved lifelong infection that never receives effective treatment.”
Martin says the good news is that MicroGenDX has developed a cutting-edge process to identify, with 99.2 percent accuracy, disease-causing pathogens based on their DNA. The computerized analysis (called NGS or Next Generation Sequencing) rapidly compares millions of DNA fragments found in infected tissue and fluid samples against the genetic sequences of more than 50,000 known bacteria and fungi stored in a database.
“Rather than test for a specific suspected pathogen, a doctor can now simply run a DNA test on the patient’s specimen that will quickly identify all the bacteria and fungi in the sample sent to us from the infected area,” says Martin.
Once the microbe is positively identified by its genetic sequence, the proper antibiotic or antifungal can be prescribed, enabling the patient to begin to recover from infections that may have persisted for years or in some cases decades.
Proper antimicrobial use is also of importance due to the increasing antibiotic resistance that is growing due to the overuse and improper use of antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest public health challenges of our time. Each year in the U.S., at least 2.8 million people get an antibiotic-resistant infection, and more than 35,000 people die.
Source: CDC Using MicroGenDX testing to get the information needed to proscribe the correct antimicrobial the first time is a key step to fight this growing problem.
“The new DNA testing protocol not only provides life-changing benefits for patients, but it also potentially provides billions in savings for America’s overburdened healthcare system – as multiple doctor visits and countless hours of culture analysis in diagnostic labs will no longer be necessary to cure even the most stubborn infections.”
NGS – Next Generation Sequencing is covered by Medicare and some insurers.
ABOUT RICK MARTIN, CEO of MicroGenDX
As the former head of Pfizer Pharmaceutical’s Anti-infective Division in Turkey, and later as head of international sales for Pfizer in Europe, Canada, Africa, and the Middle East, Rick Martin has spent decades educating doctors about antibiotics and antifungals and how to effectively use them. He now serves as CEO of MicroGenDX, a diagnostic laboratory providing DNA sequencing and rapid PCR-based microbial testing for clinical applications