History Of Lyme Disease


The first recorded case of Lyme Disease is described by physician Alfred Buchwald in Breslau, Germany. He described it as a degenerative skin disorder now known as ACA (acrodermatitis chronica atorphicans) with the earmarks of Lyme Disease.


Arvid Afzelius presents his research on expanding ring like lesion (erythema migrans) associated with what would become known as Lyme Disease. In 1909, he presented a paper at the Swedish Society of Dermatology about unique ring-shaped lesions he had observed that he believed to be attributed to tick bites.


Arvid Afzelius publishes his work and speculates on the origin of the disease as the Ixodes Scapularis tick and connects the disease with joint problems.


The disease is found to be associated with neurological problems. Click here


The disease is found to also cause psychiatric problems. Click here


Appearance of EM or ACA is associated with benign lymphocytomas.

Arthritic symptoms are reported in connection with the disease.

Click here

Late 1940’s-

America recruits over 2,000 Nazi Scientist like Eric Traub, in a project called “Project Paperclip,” to work on Plum Island with animal viruses and bacteria. (Ironically researchers isolate Bb in ticks collected off Shelter Island and Long Island shortly after Traub’s arrival.


The first case of babesiosis was reported from Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, in 1969. Since the late1980’s, the disease has spread from the islands off the New England coast to the mainland. Cases have also been reported all across the United States, Europe, and Asia.


Tick experiments were being done on Plum Island in conditions that were later deemed unsafe conditions under a scientist named Dr Hess. Dr Hess was fired in 1988 and their experiments closed down. A scientist committee urged the USDA to put together a professional expert team to make it safe.

Dr Garth Nicholson contends that possible Mycoplasma was “let loose” from Plum Island. He says that Mycoplasma is often cross contaminated with Bb. Read more in the book “Lab 257.”


Rudolph Scrimenti, professor of dermatology publishes reports of the rash . The first case of Lyme disease in the U.S. is believed to have occurred in 1970, when Wisconsin physician Rudolph Scrimenti documented his treatment of a hunter who’d been bitten by a tick.


Polly Murray and Lyme Disease

Lyme disease first registered on the public radar in 1975, when Polly Murray, a resident of the coastal town of Lyme, Connecticut, complained to physicians about symptoms that affected her entire family. Believing Murray to be a bit touched, local physicians discounted her claims. However, she persisted, and eventually researchers from Yale University in New Haven delved into her case. They found more than 51 cases in the area of what they initially believed to be pediatric arthritis. In 1977, Yale’s Dr. Allen Steere revised the named to “Lyme arthritis,” and in 1979, again changed the name to Lyme disease.


Allen C. Steere, Yale, investigates a group of rashes and swollen joints in Lyme, Connecticut.

Scrimenti publishes about his treatment of the rash with penicillin.


A clustering of cases of the disease is reported in a Naval Medical Hospital in Connecticut.


Steere et. Al misdiagnoses Lyme Disease as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and names the condition Lyme Arthritis.


The etiological agent of the disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, is discovered by Dr. Willy Burgdorfer.


Treatment of Lyme disease with oral and intravenous antibiotics begins and clinicians define the three stages of Lyme Disease.


Skeptics denounce the existence of Lyme Disease.


Lyme Disease Foundation (LDF) Founded.


The Association of State and Territorial Public Health Laboratory Directors, under a CDC grant, decided that there should be consistency between labs reporting Lyme disease Western Blots, and that a specific reporting criteria should be established. The consensus committe, chaired by Dr. Michael Osterholm, Ph.D., MN, set nationwide standards for Western Blot reporting. This sounds good, but one could argue they made a bad situation worse. Prior to the hearing, virtually every lab had accepted bands 22, 23, 25, 31, and 34 kDa as specific and significant, and reported them as positive for exposure to Borrelia burgdorferi. Not only are these bands specific for Borrelia species, but they represent all of the major outer surface proteins being used to develop the Lyme vaccines. The committee, without any clear reasoning, disqualified those bands as even being reportable.


Congressman Michael Forbes surprises Plum Island for a visit because he was suspicious of what was going on over there. “Read more in the book, “Lab 257.”


Borrelia burgdorferi genome sequenced by TIGR.



Smith Kline Beecham receive FDA approval and place LYMErix vaccine on the market.

Nov 3, 1999


Lyme disease patients peacefully demonstrated their outrage at the honoring of Allen Steere, M.D. being assigned “astute clinician” status. 35 patients and supporters actively picketed just off the NIH campus to draw attention to this lead physician’s controversial yet predominant guidelines to Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment. Following the demonstration, patients calmly faced Steere at his honorary lecture and encompassed about 1/3 of the estimated 150 in attendance. Many went to a reception afterwards.

Click here


LYMErix vaccine removed from market.
CDC’s side  http://www.lymepa.org/html/vaccine_pulled_off_the_market.html

LDA meets with EPA. Lymerix Meeting http://www.lymepa.org/html/vaccine_pulled_off_the_market.html


The Scrutiny Ends For Igenex Labs – A Lyme Disease Specialty Lab

IGeneX Labs has recently passed two inspections for its biannual recertification from the State of California. A federal inspector also arrived simultaneously. The inspection was intense, with a focus on the Western Blots. The lab has been fully recertified.”

-Nick Harris, CEO, IGeneX Labs, Statement to the Greater Hartford Lyme Disease Support and Action Group


Antitrust investigation initiated at the end of 2006 by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.


A Letter From Dr Jones: December 18, 2007

Click here


A Lyme rally was held by The Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation at Queen’s Park Friday morning. The focus of the rally was patients needing accurate testing. Lyme patients and supporters believe that the illness is grossly underreported, with only 100 cases documented in Canada in 2006, while 20,000 were counted by the Centers for Disease Control in the US for the same time period.


Newtown, CT. Patient groups across Connecticut and the nation were jubilant as the Connecticut Senate passed the Lyme disease doctor protection bill today, 36-0, following its unanimous passage in the Connecticut House of Representatives on April 30, 2009. HB 6200 contains language that will protect CT licensed Lyme treating physicians from prosecution by the State of Connecticut Medical Examining Board solely on the basis of a clinical diagnosis and /or for treatment of long-term Lyme disease. The bill provides the definition for Lyme disease which includes “the presence in a patient of signs and symptoms compatible with acute infection with Borrelia burgdorferi; or with late stage or persistent or chronic infection with Borrelia burgdorferi, or with complications related to such an infection.” It also defines clinical diagnosis as determined by a physician that is based on knowledge obtained through the medical history and physical examination alone, or in conjunction with the testing that provides supportive data for such clinical diagnosis.” In addition, it provides for updating the Lyme disease definition if other strains are found to cause Lyme disease.


Patients rally in front of the White House to protest. This was called the Mayday Rally, Tim Grey who also made the documentary, “Under the Eightball put it together.




A bill calling for official recognition of two types of treatment for Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, sponsored by Texas State Senator Chris Harris R-Arlington)* – a chronic Lyme survivor – was passed by both houses of the Texas legislature on May 26 and sent to the governor.

The bill – SB 1360 – notes that the number of Lyme and related tick-borne diseases has continued to increase in Texas. “However,” says Sen Harris, “many Texas medical practitioners are unfamiliar with the symptoms and treatments. SB 1360 will assist doctors in recognizing these symptoms and treatments through Continued Medical Education courses.”


News reports and certain IDSA drs start admitting the truth about co-infections. Babesiosis and Erlichiosis.




“As of 12:01 AM THIS morning June 9, 2011 HB295 the New Hampshire Lyme bill became LAW!! “House Bill 295 seeks to protect physicians’ rights to determine the most appropriate treatment protocol for their patients. New Hampshire residents need HB 295 to safeguard their choice in treatment of Lyme disease. NH doctors are under pressure from the medical community and insurance companies to treat with very limited antibiotic regimen, according to the Infectious Disease Society of America which denies the existence of chronic Lyme disease.” HB295 STATUS: After an 18-month journey, the Lyme Disease bill, HB295, became law at 12:01 a.m. today. In the end, the Governor refused to sign the bill and let the bill become law without his signature. According to the Secretary of State’s Office, the Governor had until June 8 midnight to either sign or veto the bill and notify the Secretary of State’s Office of his intent. No such correspondence was ever received. In the absence of this correspondence, the bill automatically became law without the Governor’s signature.”


Over 80 Lyme patients and family member of those with Lyme stood outside the Boston Conference center to protest the Lyme Disease Guidelines that were written by the IDSA.

For Pictures and Videos Click Here


To see more Boston Protest Pictures Click Here

Dr Hoffman, a lyme dr, is under attack again from the medical board.

Click here

January 2012

Lyme patients from around the world plaster the IDSA facebook wall with comments after the IDSA asked the question, “What would you like from our Society in 2012?” See more here Activism Events or IDSA Comments Over 1,500 people responded. Many people’s posts were removed and people were blocked from posting.

See Comments Here

May 2012

MAYDAY Lyme Protest~ WASHINGTON, DC  Hundreds of chronically ill Lyme disease and associated disease patients gathered in solidarity for Lyme disease guideline reforms. The protest will took place in Lafayette Park at 12:00 noon.

April 13, 2012

Dr Phil Does a show on Lyme Disease with Brooke Landau and LLMD, Dr. Chitra Bhakta.

October 20, 2012 

A large group of Lyme patients gathered in front of the  San Diego Convention Center for the IDSA’s annual meeting. Their goal was to provoke change and  bring attention to the IDSA doctors that the Lyme guidelines need to be changed.  To read a lymedisease.org’s recap of the event, Click Here.

May 2013

Worldwide Lyme Protest~ For the first time in history Lyme Patients from around the world all protested on the same weekend. There were participants in over 30 countries and approximately 30 lyme events that took place in the United States. History was made on this day. Over 50 tv interviews and news articles came out of this protest Click Here to See.

Worldwide Lyme Protest US

Worldwide Lyme Protest

Click Here for Worldwide Lyme Protest Pictures

Worldwide Lyme Disease Protest Videos

May 2013

 Mayday Lyme Protest~ May of 2013 Lyme patients gathered in Washington DC to try to bring attention to Lyme Disease Awareness. This included a march around the White House and  Flash Mob “Die-In” to represent the seriousness of Lyme Disease and how patients are dying.

Click Here for Pictures of Mayday 2013. 

October 2013

IDSA Lyme Protest in San Francisco Ca put on by lymedisease.org.

Click Here for more pictures.  

May 16-18, 2014

2nd Annual Worldwide Lyme Protest
Several countries banded together to bring attention and recognition to Lyme Disease.

Here are websites that recorded the pictures or stories of the Worldwide Lyme Protests.
Worldwide Lyme Association

US Worldwide Lyme Protest 2014

Worldwide Lyme Protest Blogs

May 22 & 23, 2014

The Mayday Project

What: 2 Day Protest Outside the IDSA Headquarters

Where: Arlington, Va

Learn More about the Mayday Project on these posts:
My Personal Experience at Mayday
The Mayday Project

Lyme Patient Die Ins


In 2013 & 2014 Lyme patients started doing Lyme “Die Ins” to show the seroiusness of Lyme disease to passer bys. This eye catching event caught on and has been done at multiple events now.

See More about the “Die In’s” Here

2013 – 2014

Many states start passing bills regarding Lyme, to protect Lyme doctors and to force insurance to cover medical treatment.


September 2014

Passing of Bill HR4701 (September 9, 2014)
Watch Video Here

September 2014

New York Times Lyme Protest

Click Here for Pictures

Lyme Activists to Speak Out at New York Times with Silence Against Silence


October 2014

The Mayday Project’s Philadelphia ID Week Protest

When: Saturday, October 10 & 11
Where: Philadelphia Convention on Center The protest is on 13th and Broad
1101 Arch St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107

October 10, 2014
CANDLELIGHT VIGIL- 6:00PM -9:00PM, Downtown Marriott
October 11, 2014
PROTEST- 8AM – 3PM, Philadelphia Convention Center

See Pictures Here

Lyme Protests History Timeline

Lyme Disease Patient Die Ins Timeline

4 thoughts on “History Of Lyme Disease”

  1. Beautifully done. In Ancient times Pliny the elder and Pliny the Younger used to write to each other about garden designs and the topic of ticks and the illnesses they cause came up. It was important to them to design gardens to not accommodate vectors.
    There was also an English doctor known in England that studied “tick diseases” in 1793. I never finished writing a history on Lyme because I could never remember where to find my previous resources from when I was a head gardener for a museum. I was neurotic of making sure I had the resources listed in my articles or posts.
    Well done! Your work is truly appreciated and needed!

  2. Great Job on this timeline. My family is sick with this Lyme Disease, and my 21 year old daughter has Chronic Lyme Disease and co-infections. She was misdiagnosed by many doctors. Finally found out she has Chronic Lyme in 2009. She has been on antibiotics and herb supplements off and on for years, she also had 2 umbilical stem cell treatments. She is still very sick and had to go back on treatment recently. She has lost her job and a huge part of her life because of this disease and the mishandling of the uneducated medical society. She is a cash paying patient. With no job and no cash to pay for her medical issues.This is a huge hardship for not just us, but for so many around the world. People are suffering and dying. Due to the false/negative lab testing with Lyme; The death certificate may reveal another disease as the reason of death, yet the truth is they had Lyme. This is an outrage, A CRIME. The treatment is extremely expensive. The misdiagnosing and lack of proper testing needs to be addressed immediately. The entire medical world needs to be updated, MD, practitioners, nurses, paramedics, medical assistants and the CDC and IDSA needs to be updated. Everyone needs to be “BETTER” EDUCATED, made AWARE of the TRUTH. Medical Society, Boards or Medical staff who denies a Lyme patient proper treatment, should face criminal charges. This is a pandemic devastating disaster larger than AIDS. EVERYONE is at risk. Why wait until someone like you or a person in your family gets sick. Take notice and WAKE UP now. Before its too late.

  3. Very interesting! Good job!
    I had the bulls eye rash in 2000 in CA. I wasn’t diagnosed and didn’t get treatment until Feb 2012.
    My severe/disabling skin problems started in Jan 2009 and kept coming back until I started antibiotics & anti viral (Valtrex) medication on a daily basis since April 2012….I still get little breakouts their just not as nearly as bad as it was…
    So if I got it in CA, how come I have/also the European kind?! I thing I was infected several times…..;), wearied…..

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