Gary P. Wormser, M.D. - New York Medical College. Valhalla, NY, US
New York Medical College

Gary P. Wormser, M.D. Gary P. Wormser, M.D.

Professor of Medicine, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases & Vice Chairman of the Department of Medicine | New York Medical College

Valhalla, NY, US
Dr. Wormser leads a top team of experts in the study of tick-borne diseases.

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Biography

Gary P. Wormser, M.D. is Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Vice Chairman of the Department of Medicine at New York Medical College. He is Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, and Pharmacology. Dr. Wormser is Director and Founder of the Lyme Disease Diagnostic Center, a well-respected walk-in clinic for the care and study of patients with tick-borne infections. At Westchester Medical Center, Dr. Wormser is Chief of the Section of Infectious Diseases and Director and Founder of the Infectious Diseases Fellowship Program. He was acting Medical Director of the AIDS Care Center at the Westchester Medical Center from August 2006 through June 2008.

Dr. Wormser’s principal research interests are Lyme disease, babesiosis, and human granulocytic anaplasmosis, with other research activities in HIV infection, infection control, and investigational antimicrobial agents and vaccine preparations.

Industry Expertise (3)

  • Health and Wellness
  • Research
  • Education/Learning

Areas of Expertise (6)

Medicine Pharmacology Microbiology and Immunology Lyme Disease Babesiosis Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis

Accomplishments (8)

Infectious Diseases Society of America: Citation for Exemplary Service (professional)

One of two individuals to receive a citation for exemplary service from the Infectious Diseases Society of America in 2007

American Public Health Association Wade Hampton Frost Lectureship (professional)

Dr. Wormser was chosen to deliver the American Public Health Association Wade Hampton Frost Lectureship in 2007 for his contributions to the epidemiology of infectious diseases.

Best Teacher Award (professional)

Medical Residents at Westchester Medical Center (2000)

Dean’s Distinguished Research Award (professional)

New York Medical College in 1999

Best Teacher Award (professional)

Medical Students at New York Medical College (1985, 1993)

Castle Connolly Best Doctors (professional)

Listed in Best Doctors in America databases:
Castle Connolly Guide to America’s Top Doctors
Castle Connolly Guide to the Best Doctors in New York

500 Total Publications (professional)

Dr. Wormser has 500 total publications including 23 in the New England Journal of Medicine

CDC and NIH funded (professional)

Dr. Wormser is CDC and NIH funded

Education (2)

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine: M.D., Medicine

He did his Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine, as well as his Infectious Diseases Fellowship, at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, New York

University of Pennsylvania: B.A., Mathematics

magna cum laude

Affiliations (2)

  • Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases
  • Member of AOA

Media Appearances (20)

Chronic Lyme Disease Not Cured by Long-Term Use of Antibiotics

CDA News  online

2016-03-31

A random Dutch study in the latest in a series of studies that strongly suggests that a continued course of antibiotics did nothing to cure or improve he symptoms and lives of people who have been diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease, according to MedPage Today. The study involved patients who underwent one of three treatments for 14 weeks.

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Study: Longer-Term Antibiotics Won't Ease 'Chronic Lyme Disease'

U.S. News & World Report  online

2016-03-30

WEDNESDAY, March 30, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- People with persistent symptoms associated with Lyme disease are unlikely to find relief from longer-term antibiotic therapy, according to a new Dutch study.

Although antibiotics are the correct therapy to treat Lyme disease when it is diagnosed early, longer-term use appears ineffective against the symptoms linked to the tick-borne illness and may carry the risk of side effects, the researchers said.

"Most patients with Lyme disease are cured after initial antibiotic therapy. But, up to 20 percent of patients report persistent symptoms, such as muscular or joint pain, fatigue or concentration problems, despite initial antibiotic therapy," said study senior researcher Dr. Bart-Jan Kullberg. He is a professor of infectious diseases at Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, the Netherland

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Longer-Term Antibiotics Won't Ease This

WebMD  online

2016-03-30

People with persistent symptoms associated with Lyme disease are unlikely to find relief from longer-term antibiotic therapy, according to a new Dutch study.

Although antibiotics are the correct therapy to treat Lyme disease when it is diagnosed early, longer-term use appears ineffective against the symptoms linked to the tick-borne illness and may carry the risk of side effects, the researchers said.


"Most patients with Lyme disease are cured after initial antibiotic therapy. But, up to 20 percent of patients report persistent symptoms, such as muscular or joint pain, fatigue or concentration problems, despite initial antibiotic therapy," said study senior researcher Dr. Bart-Jan Kullberg. He is a professor of infectious diseases at Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

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Zika Virus Found Rockland County New York

Hamlet Hub  online

2016-02-06

News 12 sat down with Dr. Gary Wormser, the chief of infectious diseases at Westchester Medical Center, to discuss the dangers of the mosquito-borne virus, particularly among pregnant women.

"The virus enters the body of the pregnant woman, then travels across the placenta into the baby itself and apparently attacks the nervous system," he says.

While not fatal, the virus can cause a baby to be born with a smaller brain and head. The victim from Rockland County is not pregnant.

The virus was also found to be sexually transmitted in Texas this week. Health officials say it can be prevented with the use of a condom.

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Dr. Gary Wormser Allays Fears of Zika Virus Transmission in Westchester County

WHU  radio

2016-02-02

A top infectious disease specialist in Westchester County sets the record straight on the Zika virus believed responsible for severe birth defects in Central America, South America, Mexico and the Caribbean and what it means for Westchester residents.

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Zika Virus: Doctors Advise Pregnant Women on Travel

Lohud: The Journal News  online

2016-02-02

The woman who called Dr. Thomas Rubeo's Bronxville office Saturday morning had a dilemma: her long-planned vacation to the Dominican Republic was fast approaching — but she's pregnant and the popular Caribbean destination is on the list of nations where the mosquito-borne Zika virus has been found....

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Lyme Disease Confusion Ensnares Sick Patients in Treatment, Insurance Complications

NBC New York  

2015-12-03

Dr. Gary Wormser of Westchester Medical Center is a lead author of guidelines for treating Lyme.
“In early Lyme disease infection, you may only get 1 out of 3 positives because it takes time for antibodies to produce,” said Wormser. “But patients who have been sick for months invariably will have a positive Lyme test.”

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Diseases on the Rise: What to Watch Out For

NY Journal News (Lohud.com)  

2015-10-28

In 2013, 95 percent of cases of this tick-borne disease were reported in residents of seven states, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Deer ticks can transmit a variety of diseases, including Lyme and anaplasmosis, said Kesh. Risks are lower in the fall and winter, but it’s important to use caution when hiking through wooded areas, and to inspect skin carefully after every outing. According to Dr. Gary Wormser, director of the Lyme Disease Diagnostic Center at New York Medical College, deer tick virus (a variant of Powassan virus) and borrelia miyamotoi are also associated with ticks,

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Summer is Gone, but Lyme Ticks Still Want Your Blood

New York Post  

2015-10-27

“Most of the Lyme cases that we see occur in the summer,” says Dr. Gary Wormser, a professor at New York Medical College. But travelers shouldn’t completely let their guard down when the leaves turn.

“On a warm day in the winter you could get a tick bite, because they become active on warm days even in the middle of the winter,” he says.

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Lyme Disease Is On The Move

Speaking of Health with Dr. B Online Radio Show  radio

2015-09-14

Who would have thought that Bambi would become a public health hazard? The CDC is reporting that Lyme disease has substantially expanded over the past few decades, with 17 states in the Northeast and upper Midwest now considered at high risk.There are many misconceptions regarding this disease. How long does a tick need to be attached to you before you are infected? How do you diagnose the illness? How long do you need to be on treatment before you are cured?. Dr. Gary Wormser, Professor of Medicine at New York Medical College, and Chief Author of the Infectious Diseases Society of America Guidelines on Lyme disease, joins Dr B, to separate the myth from reality.

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Lyme Disease May Linger for 1 in 5 Because of "Persisters"

Scientific American  online

2015-08-18

Not everyone agrees that persister cells play a role in Lyme's lingering symptoms. “There's been no evidence that this persister phenomenon has any relevance for animals or humans,” says Gary Wormser, chief of the division of infectious diseases at New York Medical College. First, he says, lab studies of B. burgdorferi cannot account for the potential effects of the body's immune system, which might be able to eliminate persisters once the brunt of the infection has cleared. Second, labs have yet to grow B. burgdorferi isolated from people treated with antibiotics, and that raises questions about whether the persisters are even viable and capable of making someone sick...

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The Mystery of Chronic Lyme Disease

The Wall Street Journal  online

2015-07-06

Medical guidelines for diagnosing and treating Lyme disease don’t recommend any particular treatment for PTLDS, largely because it isn’t clear what causes the condition, says Gary Wormser, who chaired the Infectious Diseases Society of America committee that wrote the 2006 guidelines. “In many patients, post-treatment symptoms appear to be more related to the aches and pains of daily living rather than to either Lyme disease or a tick-borne co-infection,” the guidelines say. “Put simply, there is a relatively high frequency of the same kinds of symptoms in ‘healthy’ people.” The guidelines are currently under review for revision...

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Stories From Main Street: Studying Lyme Disease In Westchester County

CBS NY  

2015-07-06

The Tri-State region is a hot spot for ticks and Lyme disease and in the Westchester hamlet of Hawthorne, there’s a specialized center for treating potentially dangerous tick bites.

Nearly three decades ago, Dr. Gary Wormser started the Lyme Disease Diagnostic Center at New York Medical College.

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Lyme Disease Diagnostic Center Opens For Summer Season

MidHudson News  

2015-05-30

The Lyme Disease Diagnostic Center at 19 Bradhurst Avenue in Hawthorne will open for the summer, the peak Lyme disease season, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. through August.

The center is part of New York Medical College’s programs, first established in 1989.

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Ticks Season Is Back, And So Is A Popular Clinic

LoHud.com  

2015-05-29

Tick season is back and — starting June 1 — so is the Lyme Disease Diagnostic Center, a walk-in clinic at New York Medical College, founded and directed by infectious diseases specialist Dr. Gary Wormser, a nationally known Lyme expert.

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Lyme Disease More Common and More Dangerous Thank You Think

Healthline.com  

2015-05-08

Lyme disease outbreaks are already being reported this spring, and experts say there’s a long way to go before we grasp the scope and impact of this serious tick-borne illness.

In the early 1990s, Dr. Neil Spector began experiencing odd symptoms.

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The Unseen Threat of Lyme Disease

Country Living  

2015-05-08

It felt like the flu. Heather Kopsco was tired, achy, and slightly feverish. She also had a rash, which she thought was ringworm picked up at the animal shelter where she worked. But after a week, she still felt lousy. That's when her brother-in-law, a doctor, recognized her rash as the classic bull's-eye caused by Lyme disease.

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Deadly Virus Carried by Some Deer Ticks in New York

LoHud.com  

2015-04-14

As the weather warms up, concerns are growing about a deadly infection carried by ticks.

Deer tick virus, a variant of Powassan virus — reported recently among a small population of ticks in southern Connecticut — has also been found in New York, said entomologist Thomas Daniels, codirector of the Vector Ecology Laboratory at Fordham University's Louis Calder Center Biological Field Station in Armonk.

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Avril Lavigne has Lyme disease. It’s notoriously difficult to diagnose and treat

The Washington Post  online

2015-04-02

For most people with Lyme, a 30-day course of antibiotics is enough to cure the infection. But according to Gary Wormser, an infectious-disease expert who helped develop the Lyme guidelines of the Infectious Disease Society of America, not everyone responds to this treatment. And for these people, a lifetime of health problems can ensue...

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The New York Times Teaches the Controversy

Slate  online

2013-07-23

“Imagine having chronic fatigue, and going to doctor after doctor, and they can’t find anything,” says Gary Wormser, an infectious disease specialist at New York Medical College and one of the world’s foremost experts on Lyme disease. “Then you go to Doctor X, and he’s the first person to give you a firm diagnosis, chronic Lyme, and he offers you a potential therapy. Can you imagine what a wonderful feeling that would be after most mainstream doctors have thrown their hands up in the air? You can’t blame these patients.”...

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Research Focus (4)

Co-discovered AIDS

Dr. Wormser characterized the clinical manifestations and epidemiology of HIV infection and edited 5 textbooks on AIDS. Was the first and only investigator to show that HIV is not found in sweat.
a. Masur H, Michelis MA, Greene JB, Onorato I, Vande, Stouwe RA, Holzman RS, Wormser GP, Brettman L, Lange M, Murray HW, Cunningham-Rundles S: An outbreak of community-acquired Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia: Initial manifestation of cellular immune dysfunction. N. Engl J. Med. 305:1431-1438,1981.
b. Masur H, Michelis MA. Wormser GP, et al: Opportunistic infection in previously healthy women. Initial manifestation of a community-acquired cellular immuno-deficiency. Ann Intern Med 97:533-539,1982.
c. Wormser GP, Krupp LB, Hanrahan JP, et al: Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in male prisoners. New insights into an emerging syndrome. Ann Intern Med 98:297-303,1983.
d. Hirsch MS, Wormser GP, Schooley RT, et al: Risk of nosocomial infection with human T-lymphotropic virus-III (HTLV-III) N Engl J Med 312:1-4,1985.

Pioneering work on deer tick transmitted infections such as Lyme disease

Dr. Wormser has done seminal studies on the prevention, clinical manifestations, pathogenesis, laboratory diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease.

a. Dattwyler RJ, Luft BJ, Kunkel MJ, Finkel MF, Wormser GP, et al. Ceftriaxone compared with doxycycline treatment of acute disseminated Lyme disease. N Engl J Med 1997;337:289-94,1997.
b. Nadelman RB, Horowitz HW, Hseih T-C, Wu JM, Aguero-Rosenfeld ME, Schwartz I, Nowakowski J, Varde S, Wormser GP. Simultaneous human granulocytic ehrlichiosis and Lyme borreliosis. N Engl J Med 337:27-30,1997.
c. Nadelman, R, Nowakowski J, Fish D, Falco RC, Freeman K, McKenna D, Welch P, Marcus R, Aguero-Rosenfeld ME, Dennis DT, Wormser GP. Prophylaxis with single-dose doxycycline for the prevention of Lyme disease after an Ixodes scapularis tick bite. N Engl J Med 2001;345:79-84.
d. Nadelman RB, Hanincová K, Mukherjee P, Liveris D, Nowakowski J, McKenna D, Brisson D, Cooper D, Bittker S, Madison G, Holmgren D, Schwartz I, Wormser GP. Differentiation of reinfection from relapse in recurrent Lyme disease. N Engl J Med. 2012 Nov 15;367(20):1883-1890.

Pioneering work on deer tick transmitted infections such as human granulocytic anaplasmosis and was the first to prove the existence of HGA in New York State

Seminal studies on this infection.
a. Aguero-Rosenfeld ME,...Wormser GP. Serology of culture-confirmed cases of human granulocytic ehrlichiosis. J Clin Microbiol 2000:38:635-638.
b. Tajima T, Zhi N, Lin Q, Rikihisa Y, Horowitz HW, Raffalli J, Wormser GP, Hechemy KE. Comparison of two recombinant major outer membrane proteins of the human granulocytic ehrlichiosis agent for use in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Clin Diag Lab Immunol 2000;7:652-7.
c. Dumler JS, Trigiani ER, Bakken JS, Aguero-Rosenfeld ME, Wormser GP. Serum cytokine responses during acute human granulocytic ehrlichiosis. Clin Diagn Lab Immunol 2000;7:6-8.
d. Horowitz HW, Aguero-Rosenfeld ME, Holmgren D, McKenna D, Schwartz I, Cox ME, Wormser GP. Lyme disease-human granulocytic anaplasmosis co-infection - Impact of case definition on co-infection rates and illness severity. Clin Infect Dis 2013;56:93-99.

Pioneering work on deer tick transmitted infections such as babesiosis

Dr. Wormser has done important studies on theinfection and was the first to document the development of drug resistant strains of Babesia microti in humans.
a. Wormser GP, Prasad A, Neuhaus E, Joshi S, Nowakowski J, Nelson J, Mittleman A, Aguero-Rosenfeld M, Topal J, Krause PJ. Emergence of resistance to azithromycin-atovaquone in immunocompromised patients with Babesia microti infection. Clin Infect DisJoseph J, Roy SS, Shams N, Visintainer P, Nadelman RB, Hosur S, Nelson J, Wormser GP. Emergence of babesiosis in the lower Hudson Valley region of New York State. Emerg Infect Dis 2011;17:843-847.
c. Joseph JT, Purtill K, Wong SJ, Munoz J, Teal A, Madison-Antenucci S, Horowitz HW, Aguero-Rosenfeld ME, Moore JM, Abramowsky C, Wormser GP. Vertical transmission of Babesia microti, United States. Emerg Infect Dis 2012;18(8):1318-21.
d. Wang G, Villafuerte P, Zhuge J, Visintainer P, Wormser GP. Comparison of a quantitative PCR assay with peripheral blood smear examination for detection and quantitation of Babesia microti infection in humans. Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis 2015;82:109-13.

Research Grants (5)

Subjective Symptoms after Treatment of Lyme Disease

CDC 

Grant Dates: 9/1/10-8/31/16

Wormser (PI)
Role: PI

RO1 CK 000152

Metabolic biomarkers and biosignatures for improved diagnosis of Lyme disease.

NIH, NIAID 

The goal of this project is to identify small molecule biosignatures that can be used for the primary diagnosis of Lyme disease and to montor disease progression or cure. Grant Dates: 6/01/2014-05/31/2017

Belisle (PI)
Role: Co-investigator

R33AI100228-01

Searching for persistence in Lyme disease

NIH/NIAID 

Using xenodiagnosis on humans to look for persistence of Borrelia burgdorferi. Grant Dates: 9/1/2014—8/31/19

Hu (PI)
Role: PI of subcontract to New York Medical College 1.3 calendar months

5U01AI109656-01A1

Use of metabolomics on urine samples for improved diagnosis of Lyme disease

CDC 

Grant Dates: 9/21/15-9/20/16

Wormser (PI)

200-2015-M-88035

Use of metabolomics on serum samples to investigate metabolites as potential biomarkers for post-treatment Lyme disease symptoms

CDC 

Grant Dates: 9/21/15-9/20/16

Wormser (PI)

200-2015-M-88036

Articles (selected) (5)

The Clinical Assessment, Treatment, and Prevention of Lyme Disease, Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis, and Babesiosis: Clinical Practice Guidelines by the Infectious Diseases Society of America
Clinical Infectious Diseases

2006

ABSTRACT: Evidence-based guidelines for the management of patients with Lyme disease, human granulocytic anaplasmosis (formerly known as human granulocytic ehrlichiosis), and babesiosis were prepared by an expert panel of the Infectious Diseases Society of America...

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Diagnosis of Lyme Borreliosis
Clinical Microbiology Reviews

2005

SUMMARY: A large amount of knowledge has been acquired since the original descriptions of Lyme borreliosis (LB) and of its causative agent, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto. The complexity of the organism and the variations in the clinical manifestations of LB caused by the different B. burgdorferi sensu lato species were not then anticipated. Considerable improvement has been achieved in detection of B. burgdorferi sensu lato by culture, particularly of blood specimens during early stages of disease...

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Prophylaxis with Single-Dose Doxycycline for the Prevention of Lyme Disease after an Ixodes scapularis Tick Bite
The New England Journal of Medicine

2001

BACKGROUND: Lyme disease is transmitted by the bite of an Ixodes scapularis tick and is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. This infection may be prevented by vaccination. However, the vaccine's general acceptance is likely to be limited by its cost (a cost to the pharmacist of $61.25 per dose) and the need for multiple doses to achieve and maintain protection...

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Lyme borreliosis
The Lancet

1998

ABSTRACT: Lyme borreliosis (Lyme disease) is often said to be associated with “protean” manifestations, a reference to the ancient god Proteus, who could assume many forms and thus elude his pursuers. This legendary quality has clouded our understanding of Lyme borreliosis by giving Borrelia burgdorferi infection a mythical aura of its own...

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An outbreak of community-acquired Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia: initial manifestation of cellular immune dysfunction
New England Journal of Medicine

1981

ABSTRACT: Eleven cases of community-acquired Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia occurred between 1979 and 1981 and prompted clinical and immunologic evaluation of the patients. Young men who were drug abusers (seven patients), homosexuals (six), or both (two) ...

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Contact Gary P. Wormser, M.D.