Believe everything on the Web about Lyme disease? No way!

February 1, 2005

Physicians in a pediatric Lyme disease clinic in Connecticut observed that most families that came to them for evaluation researched Lyme disease on the Web beforehand-and often arrived with misinformation. To determine the accuracy of what is readily available on Lyme on the Web, the physicians examined 251 Lyme Web sites. They then evaluated the 19 of those sites that met certain criteria, such as providing general information about Lyme disease.

Researchers evaluated the accuracy of the information that each site offered on eight specific Lyme topics:

The content of each site was evaluated on three occasions.

Commentary: Lyme disease still generates concern in the press and among parents of children in areas where infection is endemic. But I'm sure Lyme disease is not unique in sending parents to the Web. Nor is it unique in being described inaccurately there. We need to anticipate that parents are getting medical information-accurate and inaccurate-from multiple sources. Ask parents what they have heard, and from where, and be ready to direct them to sites that are accurate and patient-and parent-oriented.