Unraveling the Medical Mystery of Lyme Disease

Jonathan A. Edlow

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A riveting account of the medical sleuthing that led to the discovery of Lyme disease

This fascinating book not only tells the history of the discovery of Lyme disease over centuries and continents but also provides the latest information about the disease and its treatment. In the process it offers revealing details about the medical process: how physicians make a diagnosis, how they test its accuracy, and how scientific inquiry is influenced by its cultural context. Dr. Jonathan Edlow begins his detective story in Lyme, Connecticut, with the accounts of two housewives who in the mid-1970s noticed a baffling array of symptoms afflicting members of their families and others in the community. As physicians studied this strange disease, they were led to reports of similar symptoms in other eras and countries. Edlow chronicles how connections were ultimately established between symptoms and tick bites, leading to the discovery of the stages of the disease, its specific microbial cause, and its treatment. And he brings the story into the twenty-first century by discussing legal and legislative issues as well as factors that have led to recent widespread outbreaks of Lyme disease and to the controversies over its diagnosis, vaccine, treatment, and even its very definition.

Jonathan A. Edlow, M.D., is vice chairman of the department of emergency medicine at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and assistant professor of medicine at the Harvard Medical School. He frequently lectures on Lyme disease and has written many medical detective stories that have appeared in the pages of Boston Magazine and Ladies’ Home Journal.

“An extraordinary work that describes both Lyme disease the disease and Lyme disease the phenomenon. The author is a natural teacher.”—Stephen Malawista, M.D., professor of medicine, Yale University, who led the group that discovered Lyme disease

Bull’s-eye is a compelling mystery and a riveting account of science in action.”—Robert B. Parker

"This well-documented book is about a newly targeted infectious disease, and it is as important for the light it sheds on the nature of scientific inquiry within the contemporary social and political context as it is for its information about Lyme disease."—Booklist

"A valuable guide for dealing with emerging diseases. . . . Edlow avoids a bad habit of some chroniclers of medical mysteries—injecting a hyperbolic sense of peril and drama. He sticks with the science and makes it seductive. . . . The best thing of all about Bull’s-Eye is that it lays out the unknowns along with the knowns, the mainstream view along with alternative readings, and thus reveals science for what it is: a perpetual, and admirable, work in progress."—Andrew C. Revkin, New York Times Book Review

"The story of an emerging infection and its history. . . . Beautifully written. . . . [Bull’s-Eye] is written in a clear, readable style that should appeal to both medical professionals and members of the general public. . . . Anyone who is curious about Lyme disease or medical discovery in general will find this book interesting reading."—Raymond Dattwyler, New England Journal of Medicine

"Bulls-Eye is not only an excellent story that keeps the reader’s interest but a real lesson to be learned by anyone involved in healthcare. The Lyme story reveals much about the doctor-patient relationship (or frequently lack thereof) that every physician should read."—Biology Digest

"Superb. . . . An excellent book for anyone interested in the history of Lyme disease."—Robert W. Lyons, Connecticut Medicine

"Edlow has engagingly blended two narratives: a history of Lyme disease and a lay audience-oriented description of the disease and its management. . . . The strongest and most durable aspect of the book . . . is the history of Lyme disease. . . . The book should be considered essential for medical libraries and other repositories of the history of medicine. . . . The book provides both a history and an accessible medical reference in an entertaining package."—Alan Barbaour, Nature Medicine

Winner of a 2004 Will Solimene Award in Medical Communication, presented by the New England Chapter of the American Medical Writers Association
ISBN: 9780300098679
Publication Date: April 10, 2003
304 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
21 b/w illus.
The Deadly Dinner Party

and Other Medical Detective Stories

Jonathan A. Edlow, M.D.

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