The recent JPMorgan multi-billion-dollar trading loss (estimates are nearing $6 billion) has been blamed -- somewhat jokingly -- on Lyme disease. The chief investment officer, Ina Drew, responsible for oversight of the hedged bet that went bad, was ill, unfocused and unable to perform effectively.
I have yet to read a report that implies any sympathy for the health and financial burden shouldered by Drew and thousands like her who have Lyme disease in the United States today.
Lyme disease affects at least 250,000 Americans, as reported to the Centers for Disease Control, which estimates that the true number is likely about 10 times greater. It's easy to find horrifying stories about how Lyme disease devastated somebody's life; in many cases whole families are infected. It's more difficult to know the current monetary costs of Lyme. A 1998 CDC study of patients with Lyme disease found these yearly cost averages: neurologic Lyme disease, $61,243; Lyme with cardiac involvement, $6,845; and Lyme with arthritic involvement, $34,354.
The data are old, but consider this: Lyme disease is under-reported; reported cases have risen by 180 percent in Minnesota in the past decade; medical costs have also risen sharply; and insurance companies commonly deny claims for treatment after the first few months. Sure, those sums are laughable to players like JPMorgan. They are anything but a joke to the thousands of sufferers of Lyme disease.
Monique Dubos, Minneapolis