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Lyme patients have more options for treatment

A primary care practice in Boothbay Harbor is offering cutting edge testing and long term antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease.

BOOTHBAY HARBOR, Maine — People suffering symptoms of Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses in Maine's midcoast have new options for treatment. 

The Boothbay Region Health Center is a primary care practice that offers cutting edge blood testing and long term antibiotic treatment for patients. The center is only one of a handful in Maine that accepts most insurance plans including MaineCare and Medicare, as well as uninsured patients. 

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Lyme disease and tick borne illnesses are expensive to test for and treat -- and treatment is often out of pocket for many patients.

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The Center offers blood testing that tests the DNA for the pathogens that cause Lyme and a range of tick borne illnesses, with more than 93 percent accuracy. The Elisa and Western Blot tests, recommended by the CDC, only looks for the antibodies of Lyme -- it's a little more than 55 percent accurate.

"We have people who have tested negative for Lyme several years, and they get tested then for the wider range, and we find that they have the fevers or anaplasmosis that is not strictly speaking Lyme," Lynn Thompson, practice manager at Boothbay Region Health Center, said.

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The results of the blood testing can take anywhere from a week to a month. Providers then come up with a treatment plan for patients.

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