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American medical researchers who investigated
Lyme disease in the 1970s conceived of the disorder as a categorically new entity. Other interpretations emphasizing the continuities between
Lyme disease and its epidemiological antecedents, nevertheless, were possible. Clinicians, patients, and advocacy groups continue to contest the character, significance, and appropriate treatment of
Lyme disease. Highly publicized discussions among the interested parties reflect American society’s ongoing concern with new legitimating diagnoses, personal responsibility for acute and chronic
disease, and the authority of science.