Lyme disease patients and advocates demonstrated outside of the Infectious Diseases Society of America's (IDSA) Annual Conference at the Convention Center Friday. The demonstrators protested what they call Lyme disease ‘denialism.’
“Lyme disease is actually a serious disease,” Dorothy Leland of Lymedisease.org explained to NBC7. “Many of the people that we represent have been sick for years and they can’t get insurance coverage for any treatment…because the guidelines say that two to four weeks of antibiotics will cure you.”
The CDC estimates that there are more than 300,000 cases of Lyme disease every year in the United States. However, the disease can be difficult to diagnose since it mimics symptoms of other illnesses, and the protesters say the true number could be well over a million.
On display during the protest, each patch of the Lyme Quilt represents a person who died from the disease. This is the first time the quilt has been displayed on the West Coast. Started in 2014, advocates take the quilt to different events in the US and Canada to raise awareness about the disease.
According to the IDSA’s website “using antibiotics for a very long time (months or years) does not offer superior results and in fact can be dangerous, because it can cause potentially fatal complications.”
The protesters plan to hold a candlelight vigil Friday evening and continue their demonstration Saturday.