Lyme disease national service needed: doctors

Psychiatrist Dr Raguraman Janakiraman and pain physician Dr Aston Wan from the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Queensland say ‘chronic Lyme disease’ referrals to psychiatric units are increasingly common.

According to the specialists there is no specific referral pathway to establish a diagnosis of Lyme disease in Australia, which could lead to delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis.

“Most of these patients are referred to either neurologists or general physicians with differential diagnoses of CFS, fibromyalgia, autoimmune disease or widespread pain syndrome of unknown aetiology,” they said writing in a letter published in Australasian Psychiatry.

“Patients presenting to the emergency department mostly get transferred to either a medical or psychiatric unit for further evaluation.”

Significant testing limitations for Lyme disease in Australia plus a vast number of non-specific clinical symptoms