Bitten

The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons
Narrated by: Coleen Marlo
Length: 5 hrs and 1 min
4.5 out of 5 stars (206 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A riveting thriller reminiscent of The Hot Zone, this true story dives into the mystery surrounding one of the most controversial and misdiagnosed conditions of our time - Lyme disease - and of Willy Burgdorfer, the man who discovered the microbe behind it, revealing his secret role in developing bug-borne biological weapons and raising terrifying questions about the genesis of the epidemic of tick-borne diseases affecting millions of Americans today. 

While on vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, Kris Newby was bitten by an unseen tick. That one bite changed her life forever, pulling her into the abyss of a devastating illness that took 10 doctors to diagnose and years to recover: Newby had become one of the 300,000 Americans who are afflicted with Lyme disease each year. 

As a science writer, she was driven to understand why this disease is so misunderstood and its patients so mistreated. This quest led her to Willy Burgdorfer, the Lyme microbe’s discoverer, who revealed he had developed bug-borne bioweapons during the Cold War and believed that the Lyme epidemic was started by a military experiment gone wrong. 

In a superb, meticulous work of narrative journalism, Bitten takes listeners on a journey to investigate these claims, from biological weapons facilities to interviews with biosecurity experts and microbiologists doing cutting-edge research, all the while uncovering darker truths about Willy. It also leads her to uncomfortable questions about why Lyme can be so difficult to both diagnose and treat and why the government is so reluctant to classify chronic Lyme as a disease. 

A gripping, infectious pause-resister, Bitten will shed a terrifying new light on an epidemic that is exacting an incalculable toll on us, upending much of what we believe we know about it. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio. 

©2019 Kris Newby (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

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    5 out of 5 stars

Important Exposé on Lyme Disease and Bio-Weapons


Bitten! This is a quick, courageous, and intense book. International intrigue, compelling details, scientifically relevant, politically meaningful. The author did her homework. She does not have all the answers, and she admits that. I appreciate that she did not pad the book with more details just to make a longer book. That is respectful for readers. Governmental crimes, stupidity, diversion of funds, diversion of biological weapons, the Cold War mindset, cover-ups, Cuba, the Kennedys, Russia, Switzerland, the United States, and scientists who find themselves working on weapons without specifically seeking out such work. . . . all of this is in Bitten! The density of the book is light-medium. I took only a handful of notes. Jargon was minimal - I did not need to look up unusual words or learn a new vocabulary. I listened on Audible, and the recording was clear and well-read; I listened to the whole book in one session. I highly recommend this book; the medical insurance crimes and interference from the government with medical care for Lyme Disease victims astonished me. I was not clear if that is yet fully resolved. Thank you for writing this brave book

9 people found this helpful

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Ban up job

Thanks Kris for putting this together. I cannot believe our government is so sinister! Wormser amd Steer should be in jail right away!! Dirty dirty human beings! They are the cause for all these deaths across the world and beyond and have no place in medicine.

7 people found this helpful

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Yikes!!!

I am 44 and have tested positive for several strains of the bacteria that cause Lyme Disease. Inconclusive CDC approved testing results allowed doctors to pass me off as “crazy” and unable to cope with the vigors of daily living (I think that is how the IDSA has deemed of those of us suffering with chronic Lyme). What caused my self pay doctor, who I had to enlist without use of my medical benefits, to chase Lyme for me is my Testing positive to the known Lyme CoInfection, Bartonella. These days, I read and listen to anything I can get my hands on and when my Father in Law suggest I listen to Bitten, I was definitely on board. I expected yet another memoir type book that details one person’s trials and tribulations with diagnosis and treatment of this crippling disease but what I encountered was a side of the Lyme Wars I had not yet been familiar. The likelihood of Lyme having been used as a bio weapon is absolutely plausible and terrifying to me. Having grown up in the upper Midwest 70’s and 80’s, the urgency to “check for ticks” was my reality. I knew 1 child in my hometown who had a diagnosed case of Lyme Arthritis (as it was called back then). I remember this once vibrant boy coming back from being treated in a hospital for months looking like a baby bird that had been pushed out of the nest too soon. This disease, from what I recall, significantly altered his childhood. So when my doctor suggested we aggressively test for Lyme, naturally he was the first person who came to mind.

My story is not unlike Kris and Paul’s journey to diagnosis. One dead end after another. I spent nearly 3 years in a demented game of ping pong being bounced back and forth from general practitioners to psychiatrists with both holding firmly that the other was the most appropriate to treat me. Having given up, resumes the fight, and given up many times over my tenacity and inability to accept Fibromyalgia as the end all diagnosis, I found a self pay clinic in Atlanta, Georgia that focuses on brain health to help me get at the root of this evil that was slowly killing me from the inside out.

I wish I could say I’m well. I wish I could say I have been cured. All I can say with confidence is that I am on the path to wellness. And books like Kris Newbys are essential to anyone who is fighting the Lyme Wars. I hope that with Congressman Chris Smiths support in demanding the Department of Defense release documents pertaining to the biological weapons testing of the 60’s we can at least get a better understanding if there was a corrupt system at the root of the dissemination of these awful tick Borne diseases.

If you are still reading this, know you are not alone in your fight. Your state certainly has some type of support program in place. There are several support groups available via social media (some are better than others) but I would like to encourage everyone not to give up. Those of us suffering here at the forefront need to use our voices and stories to help this country get to the roots of this public health concern. We need to be the catalysts of change! We need to take our suffering to the masses so that others will not needlessly suffer!

5 people found this helpful

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How it happened theory

Loved this. It is only theory on how/what happened. However, as a bedridden lyme fighting person, I appreciate it and I think it probable. I am not able to actually read because of lyme complications, but listening to it definitely made me feel like I couldnt stop till the book came to an end.

5 people found this helpful

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Interesting and Scary - but with caveats.

This is an interesting and scary story that reminds me of DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY, only instead of hopping between a serial killer and the Columbia Exposition, this hops between the authors struggles with chronic Lyme symptoms and a scientists mysterious bio-weapon research after WWII. The only problem is, as non-fiction, I think the story makes a bold case that the current Lyme symptoms might be brought on by poor experimental control with live tick-releases. I suspect that the average casual listener will find this very compelling but key questions about the premise are not addressed. For example, do ticks make good disease distribution vectors? Don't confuse the availability heuristic with high efficacy. And it seems to be implying that the Lyme disease outbreaks were first observed after these experiments - but that's not true either. My concern isn't that the material in the book is *wrong* so much as that in an effort to make it an interesting story, the author has inadvertently made a misleading story.

4 people found this helpful

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This explains our very sick nation

This amazing story of how the Allied governments spent years and unlimited funds to create the most heinous of man-made, weaponized diseases is worth knowing. Newby's details provide plenty of information about how and why the Lyme Disease epidemic was pumped into the general population of North America. This same information also provides clues about how the monstrous, cross-domain microbe of Morgellons got its gruesome start and why there is stoic official silence about its violent progression. Thanks, Ms. Newby, for helping us understand at what dark doors we may lay the intense and ever-increasing suffering of mankind.

4 people found this helpful

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Interesting history lesson on biological warfare

Kris Newby provides a great service to all of us by doggedly researching and then sharing in such a riveting way a little known history of Cold War biological warfare R&D. The fact that there is now undeniable proof of this R&D being conducted to weaponize ticks should call into question certain assumptions being made during the study of tick-borne microbes — and the epidemic of chronic auto-immune symptoms be experienced by Americans (and others).

3 people found this helpful

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Jaw dropping!

This book is a must! As A New Englander, it really hits home! Unbelievable research!

3 people found this helpful

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Troubling story.

Narration: very good in every respect.

Story: it is troubling to read about what may be a devastating episode in a cover-up affecting the health of so many Americans.

3 people found this helpful

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more should know

I suffer chronic Lyme, years ago a friend from Long Island told me about Plum Island and an " accident" i just called it that . a story...I also lived in PineBluff Arkansas for a period of time...that caught my attention even more so after listening to this account...I have NO unlit your of life from complication of Lyme and co-infections. No end in site, so, where do we go from here?

2 people found this helpful