ORIGINS OF LYME DISEASE
To people who suffer from AIDS, or to people who investigate the murky
origins of that disease, it might not be apparent why it makes sense to take
some time out to contemplate the origins of other, less-deadly emerging
diseases such as lyme disease.
If we want to see some emerging revelation for a change, we probably
must think in terms of forming coalitions, of people suffering from
all forms of emerging disease- Gulf War Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue,
AIDS, lyme. There are common themes underlying nearly all such
emerging diseases, that should produce common bonds and concerns
among all who are affected.
Just as gays, blacks, and Jews need to learn how the common themes
of hate and prejudice play upon their lives in similar ways, the growing
numbers of persons with lives shortened or degraded by strange new
diseases would benefit by recognizing some of the common themes
at work: excessive government secrecy, the atmosphere of
commercial greed, politics, and censorship that corrupts the best
interests of science, the irresponsibility and incompetence of the
vaccine industry, the records of secretive and abusive human
experimentation, the lack of accountability in our military and
A chorus of voices coming from many directions, all asking
similar questions: "What has really been going on, here?", has
a better chance of creating the kind of pressure that will produce
a meaningful answer to such questions.
I've long had a confidence that most of the recently emerging
diseases had a common link of origin involving human activity.
With AIDS, ebola, hanta, anthrax, dengue fever, mad cow,
and others, the body of suspicious evidence was not difficult to
discover. Lyme disease long seemed like the most glaring
exception- no evidence of it being anything other than
an innocent, if tragic, natural occurrence.
It seemed somewhat suspicious only by virtue of the fact that
it was unknown before the mid-1970s, when so many
strange diseases started to come from seemingly nowhere.
Unlike AIDS, it did not seem to target minorities and
expendable populations with uncanny accuracy.
Last year, while driving to the funeral of a friend's mother,
I drove past Lyme, Connecticut, where the first outbreak of
lyme disease was recorded.
I was thinking to myself what a quaint, rural area it seemed- hardly
the kind of place where unscrupulous scientists would be using
human guinea pigs, or that biowarfare terrorists would likely
pick as a worthwhile target.
As with AIDS, we have reassuring proclamations that the agent
of lyme disease "is thought to have been in the U.S. for at least
a hundred years." . As with AIDS, you might wonder: "If it
has been around for 100 years, why have we not seen it before
the mid 1970s?"
Ah, there is always an answer- rarely a convincing one, but always
a ready one. For AIDS, we are told that deforestation was the
problem, and for lyme we are told that RE-forestation is the
problem . Forests grew back around suburban areas, bringing
deer, tick, and human together more effectively. Mm-hmm.
Somehow, the claims seem a bit lacking in beef.
In the next installment, I'll propose an alternative theory.