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Lyme disease has become a major concern in endemic areas, in large measure because of fears that it does not respond to current antibiotic regimens. This anxiety has led to the use of untested drugs and longer courses of therapy than have been demonstrated to be necessary, with attendant increase in cost and toxicity. Concern about the lack of response to such therapy has convinced many patients that they have a permanent disease, with profound effects on their lives and those of their families. A better understanding of the natural history of Lyme disease and of possible causes for persisting symptoms other than active infection is needed to optimize management of such patients. Most symptoms persisting after adequate therapy can be explained by a small number of pathogenic mechanisms, only one of which is ongoing infection. Individualization of care and prudent analysis are crucial if overdiagnosis and overtreatment of Lyme disease are to be avoided.
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© 1995 Reed Publishing USA. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.