Medscape; remove or correct Barbara Johnson’s misleading Lyme disease presentation
  • Petitioning Medscape

This petition will be delivered to:

Medscape Member Services
WebMD's Interim Chief Executive Officer
Anthony Vuolo
WebMD's Executive Vice President
Gregory A. Mason
WebMD's Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary
Douglas W. Wamsley
WebMD's Executive Vice President, Professional Services
Steven Zatz
WebMD's Editor
Medical Editor, WebMD
Brunilda Nazario
Senior VP, General Manager
Clair Martorana
VP Programing and Content Strategy
Kristy Hammam
Citizen Complaint Center
DOJ Antitrust Division
Attorney General of the United States
Eric H. Holder, Jr.
VP Best Practices
John Hopkins (VP Best Practices)
VP Channel Services
Laura Greiner (VP Channel Services)
Medical Editor, WebMD
Louise Chang (Medical Editor, WebMD)
WebMD's Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
William Pence (WebMD's Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer)
New Hampshire-051C
State Rep. John Hikel

Medscape; remove or correct Barbara Johnson’s misleading Lyme disease presentation

    1. Carl  Tuttle
    2. Petition by

      Carl Tuttle

      Hudson, NH

One way to stop an epidemic is to redefine it by narrowing the disease's diagnostic criteria so tightly that it's hard for any chronically ill Lyme patient to fit the profile.

A complaint was filed with WebMD regarding the following Medscape news post on Mar 5th 2012,
“Testing for Lyme Disease: Follow the Steps by Barbara J.B. Johnson, PhD”

The following statement by Barbara Johnson regarding the Western blot Lyme test is the issue:

“To be considered positive, the serum should react with at least 5 of 10 scored bands on the IgG assay and with 2 of 3 scored bands on the IgM assay.”

This set of Western blot criteria was established for surveillance purposes only and if the patient does not meet these strict criteria then the case is not reported to the CDC. Those who treat Lyme disease exclusively recognize that it is not necessary to have five positive Western blot IgG bands or two IgM bands in order to diagnose Lyme disease.

(Sample Western blot)

The CDC has confused a nation of intelligent physicians by not including the disclaimer that the national surveillance case definition is for reporting purposes only and not to be used in clinical diagnosis.
Misinterpretation of laboratory results is the main reason why physicians across the nation are dismissive of Lyme patients and their symptoms.

Medscape must not blur the lines between surveillance & diagnostic criteria, suggesting that all Lyme patients will test positive by the CDC's strict ELISA and Western Blot criteria. Substantial research evidence, including that from institutions such as Johns Hopkins, shows this is not true.  

WebMD claims to be; “The leading source for trustworthy and timely health and medical news and information” but in this example we question the integrity of Medscape’s services and those who are in charge.

Sign this petition and insist Medscape remove or correct Barbara Johnson’s misleading presentation.

First complaint letter Mar 3, 2012
Second complaint letter Mar 25, 2012
Third complaint letter Apr 9, 2012
Fourth complaint letter Apr 12, 2012
Jim Wilson’s complaint letter Mar 25, 2012
Follow up letter Apr 16, 2012

Letter to the Editor, The Lancet Infectious Diseases Published May 2012
Follow up letter Apr 27, 2012

The “Nine Step Program of Denial” Feb 11, 2012
Burness Communications Letter Feb 2, 2012

Miguel A. Perez-Lizano’s letter to Barbara Johnson  June 1, 2003

Lyme disease: impact of the CDC surveillance criteria on patients

Carl Tuttle

Hudson, NH
Website: New Hampshire Lyme Misdiagnosis

Additional petition site:


Recent signatures


    1. Reached 250 signatures


    Reasons for signing

    • Catherine Monteiro FERNY GROVE, AUSTRALIA
      • about 1 month ago

      Justice for all those suffering from Lyme Disease

    • john eldred NEW FARM, AUSTRALIA
      • about 1 month ago

      I have Lyme disease caught in UK My tests would have been negative using this criteria

    • michelle kelly AUSTRALIA
      • about 1 month ago

      I have lyme disease and know (first hand) how hard it is to get tested, diagnosed and treated for this condition. So many people worldwide are suffering and developing such unnecessary chronic infections because of misleading medical advice and lack of accurate information

    • Jessica erickson ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ
      • about 1 month ago

      I have been a victim of this faulty information and don't want others to have to go through the same hell as I have.

    • Jimmy Branch PANAMA CITY, FL
      • about 1 month ago

      Mis-diagnosis of my son, with several negatives before he got a positive.


    Develop your own tools to win.

    Use the API to develop your own organizing tools. Find out how to get started.