A historic case study on chronic Lyme disease

In this free medical education course, Kenneth Liegner, MD, a New York-based internist who has been treating tick-borne disease patients since 1988, discusses one of the earliest documented cases of chronic Lyme disease.

In 1987, Vicki Logan, a 39-year-old pediatric intensive-care-unit nurse from Goldens Bridge, New York, began suffering from headaches, fevers, fatigue, progressive paralysis, cognitive difficulties, and memory loss. Her doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong, so she was left to cope with this debilitating chronic illness on her own.

Two years later, Dr. Kenneth Liegner of Pawling, NY, decided to take on Logan as a patient, in what may be one of the earliest and most scientifically validated case of chronic Lyme disease on record.

First, he tested Logan for Lyme disease, and all the tests came back negative. She had no history of tick bite or rash, but he knew that Logan lived in a hot spot for Lyme disease, so he decided to presumptively treat her with intravenous antibiotics. After three weeks of IV cefotaxime and four months of oral minocycline, he saw no improvement in her condition.

This started a long diagnostic process to figure out what was wrong with Logan. Along the way, Dr. Liegner consulted with experts in rheumatology, immunology, and neurology. Repeatedly he sent her cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) to pathologists, all of whom observed no bacterial infections. Finally, he sent a spinal fluid sample to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and, when the fluid was placed in a special BSK-II growth medium, spirochetes began multiplying. On Jan. 14, 1994, the CDC experts verified that this was the first “gold standard” proof that the Lyme bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, can survive in a patient after months of IV and oral antibiotic treatments.

Because Logan’s Lyme disease case was so well documented, her post-mortem tissues have been used in numerous research studies. These studies have shown that the Lyme bacteria had invaded her heart, liver, and brain. A more recent study suggests that Borrelia burgdorferi is able to withstand the administration of antibiotics by forming biofilm structures, protective clusters of microbes, polysaccharides, proteins, lipids, and DNA, around itself.

You can watch a first-hand account of this fascinating medical mystery story here.


This course is part of Invisible International’s Education Platform for Tick-borne Illness, funded by the Montecalvo Family Foundation. It currently offers more than 22 free, online Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses on the diagnostics, epidemiology, immunology, symptoms, and treatment of Lyme disease, Bartonellosis, and other tick-borne diseases.

Invisible International, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is committed to alleviating the suffering caused by invisible illnesses, through education, research, and community empowerment.

You can sign up to receive news and updates at https://invisible.international/mission

Other related courses: Borrelia persistence “Bench to Bedside” E-Colloquium, Antibiotic efficacy for treatment of Lyme disease, The impact of immune responses on diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease

Infectious new dance helps kids check for Lyme-infected ticks

A children’s songwriting duo has created a catchy new dance-jingle that makes tick checks fun and easy, potentially reducing the incidence of dangerous tick-borne diseases in kids.

Tick-borne illnesses like Lyme disease affect children more than any other age group, yet only about 1 in 10 check for ticks after playing outside. To encourage kids to do more and better tick checks, comedic songwriters “Louis and Dan and the Invisible Band” created a “viral” song-and-dance routine to help kids remember to check for creepy-crawly ticks in their favorite hiding places.

Sponsors of this project, PA Lyme Resource Network and Invisible International, have also organized an educational campaign around the dance called the #TickCheckChallenge. (This project was developed for the Invisible International 2020 Hackathon, which was focused on creating education and awareness around tick-borne illness.) To help spread the word about the importance of tick checks, they’re encouraging people to record their own TikTok-style interpretations of the dance, then share them on social media, following the instructions at https://palyme.org/tick-check-challenge/

Lyme disease is the fastest growing vector-borne illness in the United States, with an estimated 476,000 new cases a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. If ticks take a blood meal undetected, they can transmit other dangerous bacteria and viruses to humans and their pets, including the Babesia parasite, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and the Powassan virus. Initial symptoms are often hard to detect, mimicking those of the flu or Covid-19 — fever, chills, headache, and aches. Prevention through tick checks is the best way to stay safe.

PA Lyme Resource Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation with a mission to reduce the suffering of Lyme and tick-borne disease patients via education, prevention, patient support, and advocacy. Their signature “Dare 2B Tick Aware Program” has provided 300+ tick education seminars to date, as well as an informative suite of prevention materials made available to the public.

Invisible International is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation dedicated to reducing the suffering associated with invisible illnesses and social marginalization through innovation, education, and change projects, such as the Lovell family Hackathon that funded the Tick Check Challenge. To donate or to learn more about our many programs to reduce the impact of tick-borne illness, visit the website: https://invisible.international

How to post your videos:

Learn how to create your own video here: https://palyme.org/tick-check-challenge/

Post your video to your social media channels, tagging three friends, and put #TickCheckChallenge on every post so that we can share your efforts to raise awareness.  

To listen to more health-education songs by Louis & Dan and the Invisible Band, go to www.louisdaninvisibleband.com.

Image: kohei_hara @iStock, Video: Chris Flicek

Free online medical education course on early Lyme disease

Three patient case studies guide physicians on how to diagnose and treat early Lyme disease. This online course summarizes the latest research on disease risk, symptoms, and treatment options.

Diagnosing early Lyme disease cases can be notoriously difficult. Initial symptoms mimic those of the flu or Covid-19 — fever, chills, headache, and aches. The recommended antibody testing isn’t reliable in the first month. And many of those infected by a tick never see the tick or the most helpful diagnostic sign — an expanding erythema migrans rash at the bite site.

In the meantime, it’s more important than ever for physicians to keep up with clinically relevant information that will enhance their Lyme disease diagnostic and case management skills. Lyme disease is the fastest vector-borne illness in the United States, with an estimated 476,000 new cases a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Approximately 10 to 20% of those treated with antibiotics go on to experience disabling long-haul symptoms, such as severe fatigue, joint/muscle pain, brain fog, and neurologic symptoms. Prompt diagnosis and treatment of early Lyme disease results in better outcomes.

Case studies in early Lyme disease” is an online continuing medical education course that discusses disease risk in geographic regions, Lyme disease rashes, NIH-funded treatment trials, the basics on how Lyme bacteria evade the immune system, and the pros and cons of various patient treatment options. Participants’ diagnostic skills are tested with three real-life patient case studies. This course has been approved for 1.0 CME credit by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Elizabeth L. Maloney, MD, the course’s author, is a Minnesota family physician focused on tick-borne disease education and policy. She is also the education director of Invisible International; the founder/president of the Partnership for Tick-borne Diseases Education; a former subcommittee member of the HHS Tick-borne Diseases Working group; and a peer reviewer for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

This project was funded by the Montecalvo Platform for Tick-Borne Illness Education, through Invisible International, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation dedicated to reducing the suffering associated with invisible illnesses and social marginalization through innovation, education, and data-driven change projects. You can sign up to receive news and updates at https://invisible.international/newsletter

Other related courses: Basic principles of diagnostic testing, 7 years of blood-based Lyme disease testing, Serologic testing in Lyme disease.

Image credit: Tricia Shears 2009, Lyme rash on a 5-yr-old