Lyme disease historical perspective
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In 1883, Alfred Buchwald was the first to describe a condition associated with Lyme disease which is now known as acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans. Arvid Afzelius first observed ring-like lesions, now known as Erythema migrans, and associated the rash with tick bites. In the United States, Lyme disease was not recognized until 1975, when a cluster of cases was identified in three towns in Southeastern Connecticut (including towns Lyme and Old Lyme), which gave Lyme disease its popular name. In 1981, the infectious agent (a spirochete) was isolated by Willy Burgdorfer, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health, from the midgut of Ixodes ticks. The spirochete was named Borrelia burgdorferi in honor of Willy Burgdorfer.
- In 1948, Carl Lennhoff, a Swedish dermatologist, observed spirochete-like structures in skin specimens.
- In the 1950s, relations between tick bites, lymphocytoma, EM, and Bannwarth's syndrome were seen throughout Europe, leading to the use of penicillin for treatment.
- In 1970, Rudolph Scrimenti, a U.S. physician from Wisconsin, reported the first case of erythema migrans in U.S. and treated it with penicillin based on European literature.
- In the United States, Lyme disease was not recognized until a cluster of cases was identified in three towns in Southeastern Connecticut in 1975. These towns included Lyme and Old Lyme, which gave Lyme disease its popular name. The cases were originally thought to be juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. This was further investigated by Dr. David Snydman and Dr. Allen C. Steere of the Epidemic Intelligence Service, and by others from Yale University. They recognized that the patients in the United States had erythema migrans and "Lyme arthritis" was one manifestation of the same tick-borne condition known in Europe.
- Before 1976, elements of B. burgdorferi sensu lato complex infection were known as "tickborne meningopolyneuritis," "Garin-Bujadoux syndrome," "Bannworth syndrome," "Lymphocytic meningoradiculitis," "Afzelius syndrome," "Montauk Knee" or "sheep tick fever." Since 1976, the disease has been most often referred to as Lyme disease, Lyme borreliosis, or simply borreliosis.
- In 1976, Jay Sanford, a former physician at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, published a chapter in the book The Biology of Parasitic Spirochetes. In it, Dr. Sanford stated: "The ability of borrelia, especially tick-borne strains, to persist in the brain and in the eye during remission after treatment with arsenic or with penicillin or even after apparent cure, is well known.” 
- In 1980, Allen C. Steere, a rheumatologist at Yale University, and his colleagues began to test antibiotic regimens in adult patients with Lyme disease.
- In 1981, Jorge L. Benach, a pathologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook identified a novel spirochete which was cultured from the midgut of Ixodes ticks in Shelter Island, New York, and subsequently from patients with Lyme disease. Soon after, the infectious agent was isolated by Willy Burgdorfer, a researcher at the National Institutes of Health, who specialized in the study of microorganisms such as Borrelia and Rickettsia. The spirochete was named Borrelia burgdorferi in his honor. Willy Burgdorfer and Alan Barbour were partners in the successful effort to culture the spirochete.
- After identification of B. burgdorferi as the causative agent of Lyme disease, antibiotics were selected for testing, guided by in vitro antibiotic sensitivities, including tetracycline antibiotics, amoxicillin, cefuroxime axetil, intravenous and intramuscular penicillin, and intravenous ceftriaxone.
- In 1987, B. burgdorferi spirochetes were identified in tick saliva, confirming the hypothesis that transmission occurred via tick salivary glands.
- Weber, Klaus (1993). Aspects of Lyme Borreliosis. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg. ISBN 978-3-642-77614-4.
- Forschner, Karen (2003). Everything you need to know about Lyme disease and other tick-borne disorders. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley. ISBN 978-0471473640.
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- Paschoud JM (1954). "Lymphocytoma after tick bite". Dermatologica (in German). 108 (4–6): 435–7. PMID 13190934.
- Scrimenti RJ (1970). "Erythema chronicum migrans". Archives of dermatology. 102 (1): 104–5. PMID 5497158.
- Steere AC (2006). "Lyme borreliosis in 2005, 30 years after initial observations in Lyme Connecticut". Wien. Klin. Wochenschr. 118 (21–22): 625–33. doi:10.1007/s00508-006-0687-x. PMID 17160599.
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- Mast WE, Burrows WM (1976). "Erythema chronicum migrans and "Lyme arthritis"". JAMA. 236 (21): 2392. PMID 989847.
- Steere AC, Malawista SE, Snydman DR; et al. (1977). "Lyme arthritis: an epidemic of oligoarticular arthritis in children and adults in three connecticut communities". Arthritis Rheum. 20 (1): 7–17. PMID 836338.
- Sanford JP (1976). "Relapsing Fever—Treatment and Control". In Johnson RC (ed). Biology of Parasitic Spirochetes. Academic Press. ISBN 9780123870506.
- Steere AC, Hutchinson GJ, Rahn DW; et al. (1983). "Treatment of the early manifestations of Lyme disease". Ann. Intern. Med. 99 (1): 22–6. PMID 6407378.
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- Luft BJ, Volkman DJ, Halperin JJ, Dattwyler RJ (1988). "New chemotherapeutic approaches in the treatment of Lyme borreliosis". Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 539: 352–61. PMID 3056203.
- Dattwyler RJ, Volkman DJ, Conaty SM, Platkin SP, Luft BJ (1990). "Amoxycillin plus probenecid versus doxycycline for treatment of erythema migrans borreliosis". Lancet. 336 (8728): 1404–6. PMID 1978873.
- Ribeiro JM, Mather TN, Piesman J, Spielman A (1987). "Dissemination and salivary delivery of Lyme disease spirochetes in vector ticks (Acari: Ixodidae)". J. Med. Entomol. 24 (2): 201–5. PMID 3585913.