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‘Week of the Tick’ mainly says a lot about a limited view on Lyme Disease

Written by Huib, published Saturday April 21st, 2018

Last week it was the annual edition of the ‘Week of the Tick’, with a public podium for experts such as Hovius and Kullberg from the Lyme Expertise Center. This center, a collaboration between two Dutch hospitals (AMC & Radboud), the Dutch health department RIVM and the Lyme patients’ association, proudly announced that – nine years after a petition signed by over 70,000 people – they have joined forces and are now investigating what has been known in international science for about thirty years: that ticks can also transmit other serious infectious diseases.

That this is presented as a new discovery seems to be primarily a barely disguised marketing strategy to support the introduction of a new tick vaccine, so that the average citizen will feel ‘safe’ again. Valneva is currently developing a new version of the Borrelia OspA vaccine (similar to the old LYMErix vaccine from GSK, which was taken off the market immediately after it became clear how much damage it caused at the time, see ‘Cure Unknown’ for more information).

The co-infection study of Hovius is a foundation for the development of another anti-tick vaccine, which is based on the blocking of tick proteins. The Valvena vaccine is now being researched in the Belgian University Hospital UZ Gent after the FDA has put it on a ‘fast track‘. Incidentally, this is the same hospital where the experts claim that Lyme is ‘a fabricated fashion disease’. A fairly firm statement that an organization such as ‘Veilig Thuis’ (Dutch Child Protection) makes grateful use of to call a Lyme diagnosis a clear indication of likely ‘child abuse‘ in its training materials.

Puzzled now? Hence the translation of the opinion article below, which was sent in abbreviated form (the word limit is approx. 550 words) to several Dutch newspapers and to ‘Medical Contact’, the magazine from which doctors get their information, that has spread misinformation about Lyme before. Since this article has not reached the opinion columns this week, you can read it in the full version below, at the end of the ‘Week van de Teek’, edition 2018.

‘Week of the Tick’ mainly says a lot about a limited view on Lyme Disease

“In the Week of the Tick, meant to create awareness about Lyme disease, we are made especially frightened for ticks. According to the experts in the Netherlands, ticks are the only Lyme transmitter. Is that true or is the current way of thinking about Lyme scarier than the tick itself? That narrow – or narrow – way of thinking has now resulted in a situation in which nobody actually knows for sure how many people actually are or could become infected with Lyme. That has several reasons. I will limit myself to those simplest to explain: the diagnosis process, possible ways of contamination and the current coding in health care.

Diagnosis process

You come to the doctor with “I have a complaint”. Depending on whether your doctor will think about Lyme, he will ask “Did you have a tick bite? Do you have a red ring?”. If you do have a clear red ring (an EM), the diagnosis is clear. You are infected with Lyme and that will be caused by a tick bite. Regardless of whether you have seen a tick or not.


According to the Dutch guidelines that your doctor has to stick to, the treatment is simple: a maximum of 10-14 days of antibiotics. If you still have symptoms afterwards, you will either be sent home with the ‘Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome’, sent to the psychiatrist with the nonsensical ‘diagnosis’ MUS (Medically Unexplained Symptoms) or you will get talked into accepting a serious and unresolvable illness, such as MS, Parkinson, Alzheimer’s, ALS, ME or about 364 others.

EM ring

Most doctors consider a red (EM) ring as clinical evidence of infection. Which is indeed true, but they should not reverse this logic. No EM ring does not mean you cannot have Lyme. A literature study shows that no EM was visible in 25-50% of the infected patients. Thus, in 50-75% of the cases acute infections are missed, which also do not count in the statistics.


Because the RIVM uses the EMs voluntarily provided by GPs as the only basis for its statistics. To my surprise, there seems to be no correction for this design error. That would mean that there are not 27,000 new Dutch patients each year, but between 54,000 to 108,000. To put this number in context: according to the INKL, the same number of 108,400 people received cancer in 2016 in the Netherlands.

Ticks as the only vector of infection?

Is the tick the only way to get infected with Lyme? To answer that question, it is useful to know that Lyme is related to Syphilis, which for centuries has made many victims. The debate about whether the disease was ‘real’, raged on for five centuries and only came to an end when a direct and reliable diagnosis was found: the microscope.

Lessons from Syphilis

Only when there was consensus about the genuineness of Syphilis, research started into the possible forms of contamination. It turned out that this disease is transmitted in different ways: through sexual contact, but also through other body fluids such as blood. The World Health Organization (WHO) prescribes that plasma for blood transfusion should be tested on the cause of Syphilis (Treponema pallidum). Could this also be relevant for Syphilis’ nephew Borrelia (the name of the spirochete causing Lyme)?

On the website of Sanguin, the Dutch organisation managing blood donations, one can read that ‘no case of infection with Lyme is known through donation’. That is legally correct, because that has never been investigated. According to the WHO, the blood supply is only tested for Syphilis and not for Lyme.

Other forms of infection

German research (2015) also showed that the Borrelia was found in mosquitoes and horseflies. If you come to the GP with an EM after a horsefly bite, you will rarely ever get a Lyme diagnosis. The RIVM claims on its site that there is evidence that Lyme can also be transferred by pregnancy, but adds: “Nevertheless, human congenital Lyme disease is rare”. How is that determined? After how many miscarriages or cases of suddenly deceased babies (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is autopsy performed, specifically looking for the DNA of the Borrelia? How many future mothers know that they can be unknowingly infected with Lyme and that this is transferable to their babies?

Can Lyme, like Syphilis, also be transmissible via other body fluids, such as via tear fluid, sweat and semen or vaginal fluids? The answer to that question is both simple and disturbing: it has not been properly investigated or has not been announced (the Borrelia has already been found in human semen and vaginal fluid). As was the case with Syphilis, there are still no reliable, direct diagnostic tests (available) for Lyme. Only being afraid of ticks as the only cause of the Lyme epidemic seems just as sensible as avoiding only injection needles to avoid getting AIDS.

Deception or misguided

It is perhaps obvious to accuse the RIVM of deception and to call the current policy itself a threat to public health. But as a member of the United Nations, the Netherlands also has to work with the ICD coding system of the WHO, which classifies diseases. This ICD system contains codes for as many as 69,000 illnesses and pathogens, including very exceptional ones, such as ‘collision with a spaceship’ (V95.40) and ‘burns by spontaneous combustion of water skis’ (V91.07).

Then one might assume that there are also ICD codes for a tick bite and for the many – often fatal – disorders that are caused by Lyme according to hundreds of scientific articles? But no. The WHO only has an acute Lyme code and some subcodes for so-called ‘rare’ serious forms. However, hundreds of scientific articles that have shown that Lyme infection causes heart failure, vascular disease, liver disease, blindness, hearing problems, psychiatric disorders, cerebral haemorrhages and many other disorders are not included in these codes. Being flew by a duck (W61.62XD), collisions with unmarked spaceships and spontaneously igniting waterski’s so; with probably considerably less substantiation through scientific research.

This not only means that your doctor will not see all those causal connections in his ‘drop down’ menu, if you come in with this kind of serious complaints. It also means that there is no compensation for treatment of the cause and also that no reliable statistics can be collected. If a disease does not have an ICD code, it does not exist systemically. And that also means that Lyme has been ‘coded away’ within the health system in all member states of the UN. Is the RIVM actually so deceived by the WHO?

Human rights

This has been brought to the attention to the WHO in March 2017 by the ‘Ad Hoc Committee for Health in ICD11 Borelliose Codes’, yet until they have not used this stakeholders’ documented research to revise and update their codes according to the latest science – also ignoring dozens of scientific studies on congenital transmission.

The human rights violations related to these outdated codes have been reported reported in June 2017 by the Ad Hoc Committee to the Special Rapporteur on Health and Human Rights of the United Nations. This violation of human rights therefore also takes place in the Netherlands.

So if you want to be scared anyway, the choice is therefore for which sign you want to get the most afraid: the ticks in the Amsterdam Forest or this worldwide writing on the wall.” [In Dutch, the word for ‘ticks’ (plural) is the same of for ‘writing’ (singular). Hence this language joke.]


Written by Titia de Vries, communication expert, Executive Coach and one of the many people who in the current situation can not be sure whether they have Lyme, after years of health problems.

Based on her interview with Huib Kraaijeveld, MA, social psychologist, author of ‘Shifting the Lyme Paradigm‘, chairman of the On Lyme Foundation and founding member of the Ad Hoc Committee for Health Equity in ICD11 Borelliose Codes

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Image: The feast of Belshazzar or Belshazzar’s feast by Rembrandt van Rijn, a canvas painted around 1635 that depicts the writing on the wall to the Babylonian ruler Belshazzar. During a big party party, he uses cups that his father Nebuchadnezzar has stolen from the temple of Jerusalem. God rebukes the sacrilege of Belshazzar and that night he is killed by the Persians who invade his country. The painting can be seen at the National Gallery in London.

drs. Huib Kraaijeveld

In: Blog Bureaucracy Inspiration Youth Care Lyme Media Human rights Nonsense Social Science

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