Lyme Disease Cited in Connection to Woman's Erratic Behavior at Waldorf-Astoria

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Treatment Unlikely to Cause Psychiatric Issues, Say Some Experts

Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics. Experts say there is debate about whether to treat patients with just a short-term course of antibiotics or continue the medication for several weeks or months. The Infectious Disease Society of America and other health organizations say long-term treatment with antibiotics is ill-advised because of the risk of complications. They advocate treatment for about a month.

If Michose were taking antibiotics for Lyme disease, doctors say, the drugs likely did not cause her erratic behavior.

"Conventional antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease should not have psychiatric manifestations," said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease physician at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn. "These are well-known antibiotics that are not exceptionally strong or toxic."

The side effects of the medications might include nausea, diarrhea and, if given intravenously, complications at the intravenous site.

If the disease is caught early enough, treatment can be as short as two weeks, and complications from the disease or from the medication will probably not develop.

"When properly diagnosed and treated early," Baker of the American Lyme Disease Foundation said, "Lyme disease is easily cured by a short course of oral antibiotics that do not alter normal behavior."

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