Lyme disease and post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome: the neglected disease in our own backyard

Public Health. 2014 Sep;128(9):784-91. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2014.06.016. Epub 2014 Sep 9.


Objectives: A survey was developed to assess experience and opinions about Lyme disease and post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS) among faculties in public health. No previous surveys of public health faculties have been found in the literature.

Study design: This is a cross sectional study of public health school faculty members designed to measure knowledge and experience with Lyme disease and PTLDS using an internet survey instrument.

Methods: Participants were recruited using all the publicly available e-mail addresses of faculty members in all the 50 accredited Schools of Public Health in the United States.

Results: A 15% response rate was seen for the survey. 50% of respondents were from Lyme endemic states. Less than 5% of faculty members consider themselves expert in Lyme or PTLDS. Many faculty members had known someone with Lyme disease or PTLDS, but few had been diagnosed themselves. Most believe that PTLDS can be severe and chronic, is not easy to treat, and does not resolve on its own, but were uncertain about its aetiology. Most respondents also felt that the incidence of Lyme disease will increase and that more education is needed.

Conclusions: The need for further understanding and communication presents an opportunity for public health research and education in Lyme disease and the sequelae of PTLDS.

Keywords: Faculty; Lyme disease; Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome; Public health; Survey research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Faculty* / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Lyme Disease* / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neglected Diseases*
  • Schools, Public Health*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult