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Borrelia – In the Lymelight

Joel (Snowathlete) continues his series on zoonotic pathogens with a thorough examination of Borellia and Lyme disease – and their possible relevance for ME/CFS patients.

Borrelia

Borrelia spirochete
by Tina Carvalho, University of Hawaii at Manoa

Borrelia is the bacterium that causes borreliosis. It is a microscopic spiral-shaped parasite. There are many different species of Borrelia, some of which cause Lyme borreliosis, otherwise known as Lyme disease.

Borrelia is a zoonotic pathogen transmitted via a vector, usually a tick. There is evidence that other arthropods such as fleas, biting flies, mites and spiders also carry it, but so far there is only limited – mainly anecdotal – evidence of transmission to humans by non-tick arthropods.

Transmission from ticks appears to be the most common and important method of transmission, perhaps because ticks have a salivary protein called Salp15 which the Borrelia attaches to and which is thought to have immunosuppressive effects [1].  Following transmission, Borrelia can travel through the body quite rapidly, including into the central nervous system [2, 3].

How common is it?

Borreliosis, including Lyme and Lyme-like diseases, is one of the most prevalent infectious diseases in the world. In the USA it is the most commonly-reported vector-borne disease and the sixth most common disease nationally. It is more prevalent in the northeast and upper Midwest of the US; in Massachusetts, only hepatitis and HIV-AIDS are more common, despite under-reporting.

deer ticks in a row

Deer Ticks (Ixodes scapularis)
Photo by Sandy__R

In the past there has been a view that tick-borne infections, particularly Borrelia, are only common in the US and that other parts of the world don’t have a problem. This is simply not the case, with the UK, mainland Europe and Asia/Oceania also affected. The disease is the same, the ticks (and often the species of Borrelia) are different.

The existence of Lyme disease in Australia is controversial. The government has strict border controls to stop foreign insects and pathogens from entering the country, and the government have been reluctant to accept that there is a local problem, claiming that Borrelia infection occurs outside the country when people travel abroad. Most Lyme organizations in Australia dispute this and so does some of the medical literature [4].

Different strains

In North America, the predominant strain that causes Lyme disease is Borrelia burgdorferi. This strain also occurs in Europe and Asia, though B. garinii and B. afzelii are more common in these areas. Many other strains are known to infect humans and cause disease, some being suspected of causing Lyme, or Lyme-like illness. In particular, two other strains; B. spielmanii and B. bavariensis (both closely related to B. burgdorferi) are now widely acknowledged to cause Lyme disease.

Some strains have only been confirmed to cause borreliosis in the last few years, but have possibly been doing so for much longer [5].

Co-infections

Those diagnosed with Lyme disease often have co-infections, usually transmitted by the same tick that gave them Borrelia, and these co-infections can complicate disease and treatment. Some of the more common co-infections are Babesia, Rickettsia, Ehrlichia and Bartonella, and they can be serious in their own right. It is common for ticks to transmit multiple pathogens in one bite. Some of these other pathogens will be discussed in detail in future articles in the zoonotics series.

Symptoms

Borrelia colony

Borrelia spirochete agglomeration into colony-like masses.
Image courtesy of BioMed Central.

When you peruse a list of symptoms caused by Lyme disease or other borreliosis, you can’t help but notice that most of the symptoms in the list are the same, or similar, to those belonging to myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and fibromyalgia.

As with ME/CFS the disease tends to get worse over time with new symptoms developing. A quick Google search will return many pages with information on symptoms. As most readers will be familiar with the majority of these symptoms already, I won’t try to list them here. Instead, I will focus on those symptoms that are usually distinguishable from ME/CFS, though not everyone with Lyme disease will have these symptoms.

  • Lyme can cause paralysis of facial muscles, sometimes called Bell’s palsy. It tends to be on only one side of the face and often is not permanent.
  • Meningitis may also develop from Lyme, or from other forms of borreliosis, and is another symptom which is not as common in ME/CFS.
  • Atrophy of the skin may occur, especially with treatment as the Borrelia rise to the peripheral circulation to avoid antibiotic contact.

Having any of the above may signal that you have Lyme rather than ME/CFS, though not having them doesn’t necessarily rule out Lyme.

The other species of Borrelia that cause non-Lyme borreliosis tend to produce milder symptoms, the main presentation being relapsing fever or short-term virus-like illness, but some strains such as B. miyamotoi can, in some cases, cause severe disease [5].

Borrelia’s effect on the immune system and its ability to change form

Borrelia cyst

Borrelia cysti, covered by a thick membrane masking the contents of the cyst.
Image courtesy of BioMed Central.

Borrelia is reported to spread quickly to the central nervous system [2, 3] where it is harder to touch, and it is thought that the longer you’ve had it, the harder it is to get antibiotics to these places to kill it.

Genetically speaking, Borrelia is a very advanced bacterium [6]. It is pleomorphic, which means that it can change form from a spirochete to a cell-wall-deficient L-form [25] which is thought to be a mechanism of defense and antibiotic resistance [7, 8]. There is also evidence that Borrelia is able to create biofilm [9] which is thought to provide resistance to antibiotics and immune cells.

Borrelia is the only bacterium with 21 plasmids (B. burgdorferi), which gives it a diverse arsenal. Plasmids are pieces of DNA separate from the chromosomal nucleus of the cell, and they express surface-proteins that are essential to the bacteria’s pathogenicity [10].

Ötzi the Iceman

The remains of Ötzi the Iceman, a deceased human discovered in the Alps in 1991, were found to be infected with Borrelia burgdorferi [11, 12], showing that the bacteria has been infecting humans for at least 5300 years.

Nevertheless, there is some suggestion that Lyme disease has become more pathogenic recently as cases have increased so much in the last 50 years. This may in fact be down to improved recognition and reporting, but there is another theory that it is related to changes in the environment that have favored ticks.

Another interesting view is that Lyme may cause autoimmunity [13,14,15], which is interesting because autoimmune diseases appear to have been on the increase in the modern age as well, and some people believe ME/CFS to be an autoimmune disease (see my previous article here). Perhaps it is possible that Borrelia may be a trigger for ME/CFS autoimmunity?

How is it tested?

Otzi the Iceman

Otzi the Iceman – not your typical Lyme disease sufferer

You’d think that as they managed to detect Borrelia in Ötzi, a guy who’s been dead for more than five millennia, it should be a simple matter to detect it in living patients in the here and now, but it isn’t, and as a result the testing of Lyme disease is controversial. There are many who believe that Lyme tests often produce false-negatives, though some disagree about this, and then there is the question of false-positives too… So who is right?

A recent argument for the reliability of tests (at least with established infections) is made by John J Halperin et al [16]. However, there are those in the Lyme community that disagree with the science behind many of the conclusions in this article, and they may be right on some points. A key fact, I think, is that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still says that Lyme diagnosis should not be based solely on test results, which does support the view that the tests are not reliable enough.

Questions aside over the reliability of the approved tests, there is evidence that those who are immunocompromised are more likely to turn up false-negatives for Lyme as the FDA approved tests look for antibodies. The problem is that those with a compromised immune system may not produce antibodies properly [17]. This could therefore be relevant for those of us with ME/CFS because of the evidence of immune dysfunction.

The FDA approved tests

The FDA currently recommends a two-step test process using two different types of test. If the patient is positive or equivocal in the first test then the second test is carried out. If either test is negative then the tests indicate that the patient does not have Lyme disease.

The first test is an enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA), which looks for antibodies against Borrelia in the blood. The second test is known as a western blot and looks for immunoglobulin M (IgM) and/or immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies.

The results of the approved western blot tests are themselves contentious, as the results that are returned have to be interpreted and the CDC seems to be quite conservative about what constitutes a positive result. Therefore, some people believe that some results that the CDC would deem negative should in fact be read as positive.

Non-approved tests

There are several non-approved tests, some using blood, some using other fluids, some looking for DNA, others for antibodies or antigens. But what is consistent is that they all cost money and because they are not FDA approved you may question their reliability, and even if you don’t, your doctor probably will. Some of the alternative tests on the market have at least been formally assessed and so you may find such published papers [18] useful in making your own judgment on the value of such tests.

Rather than trying to make such a judgment for you or trying to produce an exhaustive list, instead I am just going to mention some of the more commonly recommended tests, though I personally have no experience with any of these tests myself.

Infectolabs in Germany are often suggested, and seem to find a number of people positive who had previously tested negative using the FDA approved tests. Another lab often recommended is IgeneX in the US which also offers a variety of different tests for Borrelia.

Chronic Lyme

Chronic Lyme (or ‘post treatment Lyme disease syndrome’ as the CDC prefers to call it) is controversial. At the heart of it are two opposing organizations and the only thing they have in common is the letters they share in their acronyms. Although it may sound like the title of a bad B movie, a paper titled “Lyme disease: the next decade” [19] does a good job of explaining the differences between these two groups, but I will briefly summarize it here:

Representing the dark-side in our little B movie, we have the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) who essentially state that chronic Lyme doesn’t exist and have tried to limit treatment of the condition. Representing the light-side you have the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS – remember: the one with the L in the acronym is on the light-side) who speak up for the many thousands of people who have difficulty recovering from Lyme, even after treatment.

This study [20], which supports the views of the IDSA, claims that chronic Lyme doesn’t exist. Nevertheless, the evidence to the contrary is not insignificant, and there has even been litigation against the IDSA alleging conflicts of interest that may have influenced their position on chronic Lyme.

The thing is, it’s all too easy to dismiss an illness like this, isn’t it? That is, unless you’re the guy suffering from it, in which case you know all too well how real it is.

Whatever the reason – unidentified infection, bacterial remnants, autoimmunity, irreversible damage – I believe these people are sick, and just like ME/CFS, the illness is not given the attention it deserves.

How is Lyme disease treated?

lone star tick

lone-star tick (Amblyomma americanum)
by Elizabeth Nicodemus

Unsurprisingly, treatment is controversial too, with some believing that longer and stronger treatment is needed, especially in long established illness.

One of the important factors here is that Borrelia is known to replicate slowly, often only once or twice in 24 hours, whereas a bacterium such as staphylococcus (mentioned in my first article on zoonotics) would replicate around 70 times in 24 hours. This is important because many antibiotics target the cell wall of bacteria when they are dividing.

Antibiotics are bactericidal (they kill bacteria) or bacteriostatic (they inhibit replication), so bacteriostatic antibiotics given in short courses may not reduce Borrelia infection very much. Bactericidal antibiotics are probably better against Borrelia, but still the argument is made that low dose and short-course treatments are insufficient to kill most of the infection. This leads to some experts stating that long-term antibiotic treatment is required to control or eradicate Borrelia.

Those that are immunosuppressed by another illness can have more difficulty eradicating Borrelia and so it seems reasonable to suspect that anyone with both Borrelia and ME/CFS would have difficulty with treatment. Additionally, someone with Lyme may be more susceptible to ME/CFS and probably other illnesses, due to the immune impact of Lyme.

Different antibiotic treatments may be given to target Borrelia in its various guises and stages of illness. The treatment of choice is usually doxycycline, but other antibiotics including penicillin, amoxicillin and cefuroxime axetil are also commonly prescribed. In more stubborn cases cefotaxime or ceftriaxone may be given intravenously. Treatment in pregnancy is usually with erythromycin.

As well as ceftriaxone, minocycline or metronidazole may be used where infection of the brain is suspected as it crosses the blood-brain barrier. Additionally, there is evidence that metronidazole may be more effective against Borrelia in its cyst form [21].

What has this to do with ME/CFS?

Some people think that ME/CFS is actually undiagnosed Lyme. There is some limited evidence for that, such as a study from Poland which found that 50 percent of patients diagnosed with borreliosis or tickborne encephalitis could be identified as having CFS, concluding: “The findings suggest that the chronic fatigue syndrome is frequent among patients with a history of borreliosis.” [22]. This illustrates that tickborne zoonotics may be implicated in ME/CFS. Alternatively, it could be argued that this is just a result of the two illnesses presenting with similar symptomology.

Another study looked at gender differences and found that women were significantly more likely to develop chronic Lyme compared to men [23]. This is interesting, given the higher ratio of women to men with ME/CFS. Of course, correlation does not constitute evidence, and the finding may support other conclusions, such as the higher degree of women with autoimmune diseases.

A recent study provides evidence which suggests the two diseases are distinct by demonstrating that the cerebrospinal fluid was different in the two conditions [24].

As you can imagine, both sides continue to argue over whether the two illnesses are the same, related, or completely separate. I’m not sure there is enough evidence either way yet, but what is certain is that some people with ME/CFS do later turn out to have Lyme disease. In the last two months on the Phoenix Rising forum I have noticed at least three recent posts (Jan-Feb 2013) from ME/CFS sufferers who have been tested for Lyme and come up positive.

Then you have to bear in mind that Lyme is caused by several different species of Borrelia, as explained above, and several other species are suspected of causing Lyme. Each comes with its own flavor of Lyme disease, where symptoms differ slightly. Additionally, as stated earlier, some people infected with Borrelia don’t get Lyme disease but get other borreliosis illnesses, some of which come with overlapping symptoms to ME/CFS, or which may be present as co-infections.

And importantly, if the illnesses are distinct, then there is still no rule that says you can’t have ME/CFS and Lyme disease at the same time.

Not all species of Borrelia are tested for, and probably not all are even discovered yet, as most have only been discovered in the last two decades. Indeed, the Australian government agree that another pathogen infecting Australian ticks, either a novel Borrelia or some other zoonotic, may be the cause of Lyme-like disease in the country, so there is still room for a greater number of people to have Lyme, borreliosis, or some other tick-borne pathogen as the cause of their ME/CFS, or at least as a co-infection.

Whereas there is some scope for ME/CFS to turn out to be caused by Borrelia, I don’t think anyone can reasonably make that kind of claim yet. For the moment it is categorized as a different illness.  Nevertheless, I think the similarities are quite intriguing and at the very least some people labeled as having ME/CFS do have Lyme either instead of, or as well as, ME/CFS. I think it is good, therefore, that some ME/CFS doctors do test for it, and adjust their treatment protocols accordingly. Lerner, De Meirleir, probably one or two others, but it does appear that some ME/CFS doctors overlook it.

What should I do then? Get tested?

With the symptoms being similar and with the knowledge that some people with a diagnosis of ME/CFS do later test positive for Lyme, it has to be said that there is a case for getting tested. Most of us would probably bite your Borrelia-infested arm off if we could swap from an illness of unknown etiology to one of proven etiology, with some prospect of treatment.

The level of testing you go to is of course a different topic and there are no easy answers on how far you should pursue it, but it would seem prudent to at least have the standard FDA approved tests, and if you live in a region where Lyme is endemic, or you think you have some other reason to suspect that you might have been bitten, then you may want to explore test options further.

Joel was diagnosed with ME/CFS in 2009 but struggled with the illness for some time prior to this. He loves to write, and hopes to regain enough health to return to the career he loved and have his work published. 

OTHER ARTICLES BY THIS WRITER:

REFERENCES:

  1. Joppe W.R. Hovius, et al. Tick–host–pathogen interactions in Lyme borreliosis. 2007.
  2. Steer AC, et al. The Emergence of Lyme disease. 2004.
  3. Pachner AR, et al. Lyme neuroborreliosis: infection, immunity, and inflammation. 2007.
  4. Mayne PJ. Emerging incidence of Lyme borreliosis, babesiosis, bartonellosis, and granulocytic ehrlichiosis in Australia. 2011.
  5. Platonov AE, et al. Humans infected with relapsing fever spirochete Borrelia miyamotoi , Russia. 2011.
  6. Frazer, et al. Genomic sequence of a Lyme disease spirochaete, Borrelia burgdorferi. 1997.
  7. Elizabeth Fuller, et al. β-Lactam Resistance in Staphylococcus aureus Cells That Do Not Require a Cell Wall for Integrity. 2005.
  8. A Kersten, et al. Effects of penicillin, ceftriaxone, and doxycycline on morphology of Borrelia burgdorferi. 1995.
  9. Sapi E, et al. Characterization of Biofilm Formation by Borrelia burgdorferi In Vitro. 2012.
  10. Chan K, et al. Detection of established virulence genes and plasmids to differentiate Borrelia burgdorferi strains. 2012.
  11. Iceman Autopsy – National Geographic. 2011.
  12. Kean WF. The musculoskeletal abnormalities of the Similaun Iceman (“ÖTZI”): clues to chronic pain and possible treatments. 2013.
  13. Aberer E, et al. Molecular mimicry and Lyme borreliosis: a shared antigenic determinant between Borrelia burgdorferi and human tissue. 1989.
  14. Elizabeth S. Raveche, et al. Evidence of Borrelia Autoimmunity-Induced Component of Lyme Carditis and Arthritis. 2005.
  15. A M Ercolini, et al. The role of infections in autoimmune disease. 2009.
  16. John J Halperin et al. Common Misconceptions About Lyme Disease. 14 January 2013.
  17. van Dop WA, et al. Seronegative lyme neuroborreliosis in a patient using rituximab. 2013.
  18. Volker von Baehr et al. The Lymphocyte Transformation Test for Borrelia Detects Active Lyme Borreliosis and Verifies Effective Antibiotic Treatment. 2012.
  19. Raphael B Stricker, et al. Lyme disease: the next decade. 2011.
  20. Henry M Feder, Jr., et al. A Critical Appraisal of “Chronic Lyme Disease”. 2007.
  21. Brorson O et al. An in vitro study of the susceptibility of mobile and cystic forms of Borrelia burgdorferi to metronidazole. 1999.
  22. Gustaw K. Chronic fatigue syndrome following tick-borne diseases. 2003.
  23. Wormser GP, et al. Implications fo gender in chronic Lyme disease. 2009.
  24. Steven E Schutzer, et al. Distinct Cerebrospinal Fluid Proteomes Differentiate Post-Treatment Lyme Disease from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. 2011.
  25. Mursic VP, et al. Formation and cultivation of Borrelia burgdorferi spheroplast-L-form variants. 1996.

IMAGES
Figures B and H originally published by BioMed Central. Journal of Neuroinflammation. Judith Miklossy, et al. 25 Sep 2008. Persisting atypical and cystic forms of Borrelia burgdorferi and local inflammation in Lyme neuroborreliosis.
B. Dark field microscopy of Borrelia burgdorferi showing the usual spiral form of spirochetes and their agglomeration into colony-like masses.
H. Cystic form of Borrelia burgdoferi spirochetes, entirely covered by a thickened membrane masking the contents of the cyst.

FURTHER READING:

  1. A History of Cell Wall Deficient Bacteria: A Selection of Researchers Who Have Worked with the L-form.
  2. Vaccination against Lyme disease: past, present, and future. 2013.
  3. FDA recorded webinar on Lyme disease diagnostic research. 2012.

 

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{ 161 comments… add one }

  • GcMAF Australia March 20, 2013, 2:35 pm

    Mualla Mcmanus
    Dear all,
    I would like to say that TBD2013 was a success. We had more Drs turning up and wanting to learn how to treat Lyme Disease in Australia. More have emailed me about not being able to attend but that they are interested in purchasing the DVD. It is very positive. AIMA and KMF are in partnership. We will be working to get as many Drs as possible to join an learn about Lyme. AIMA has 300 Drs as members. Revolution is underway!!!!! Change is happening!!!. Having Prof Baggoley at the conference was also a sign to Drs not to be afraid of being deregistered if they treat Lyme disease. In addition we were able to get the conference RACGP approved for CPD points. That means we are on the way of being accepted. So soon big changes will be underway.

    From Mualla McManus

  • GcMAF Australia March 20, 2013, 4:00 pm

    there is a petition to the Aust government.
    https://www.change.org/en-AU/petiti…d-treatment-of-lyme-disease-and-co-infections
    please sign to help all CFS sufferers

  • snowathlete March 20, 2013, 4:08 pm

    Can anyone sign, or just Australians?

  • GcMAF Australia March 20, 2013, 4:54 pm
    snowathlete

    Can anyone sign, or just Australians?

    anybody
    we appreciate it muchly

  • Sushi March 20, 2013, 5:10 pm
  • Sushi March 20, 2013, 5:24 pm
    GcMAF Australia

    Mualla Mcmanus
    Dear all,
    I would like to say that TBD2013 was a success. We had more Drs turning up and wanting to learn how to treat Lyme Disease in Australia. More have emailed me about not being able to attend but that they are interested in purchasing the DVD. It is very positive. AIMA and KMF are in partnership. We will be working to get as many Drs as possible to join an learn about Lyme. AIMA has 300 Drs as members. Revolution is underway!!!!! Change is happening!!!. Having Prof Baggoley at the conference was also a sign to Drs not to be afraid of being deregistered if they treat Lyme disease. In addition we were able to get the conference RACGP approved for CPD points. That means we are on the way of being accepted. So soon big changes will be underway.

    From Mualla McManus

    Thanks for the update!

    Do you have specifics about what treatments are being used in Australia?

    Sushi

  • GcMAF Australia March 20, 2013, 5:29 pm
    Sushi

    Thanks for the update!

    Do you have specifics about what treatments are being used in Australia?

    Sushi

    yes i am trying to collate everything
    a small byte here
    vitamin C, large doses – try increasing slowly until get like loose bowels
    then just drop back a dose
    diatomaceous earth which helps kill parasites- 4 days on then 3 days off

  • est_sunshine March 20, 2013, 7:08 pm

    I'd really love more info from the conference if you have any GC, I've just tested positive for Lyme and beginning abx treatment.

  • GcMAF Australia March 20, 2013, 8:29 pm
    est_sunshine

    I'd really love more info from the conference if you have any GC, I've just tested positive for Lyme and beginning abx treatment.

    This is not my work so I have no opinion on its success
    It does contain some pertinant points though.
    For example from John Coleman
    Patients diagnosed with Lyme disease and coinfections have a number of protocols to choose from for reducing the bacterial load; most will have significant antimicrobial activity. Lysed bacteria release endotoxins that may be as dangerous as the original infection unless all detoxification pathways are optimised.
    Many Lyme Borreliosis treating doctors consider Herxing to be a sign that detoxification is inadequate, the antimicrobial program is too vigorous, or both. In my own practice, I gain better results by beginning with quite robust detoxification activities, primarily patient driven.
    A strict dietary regimen and clearing environmental toxins in the home are a first step. Efficient bowel function is very important and constipation may be ameliorated with vitamin C titrated to bowel tolerance (usually combined with magnesium), which also assists as an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant and immune booster.

    Dry skin brushing, Epsom salts baths or foot baths, oil pulling, soaked chia seeds, warm lemon water and cautious use of infrared saunas have been found to help. Detox therapies that I have effectively used while treating neurodegenerative and autoimmune disorders (where systemic toxicity is an exacerbating factor) include Heel Galium-Heel and Heel Detox Kit at extremely low doses (beginning at about 1/30 of the recommended
    doses), and MH Enhance P2 Detox powder. Byron White Formulas (BWF) Selective detox formulas are proving to be very efficacious at enhancing detoxification and reducing Herx effects when started at very low doses and titrated to individual requirements.
    The BWF have the advantage of being aimed at specific infections (Borrelia, Bartonella, etc), so are effective at removing endotoxins as those bacteria are lysed. Optimising detoxification pathways allows more vigorous antimicrobial activity with less distress; patient compliance is increased and health improvements more assured.

    Clinical observations with those diagnosed with advanced neurodegenerative and autoimmune disorders had already shown the advantage of using vastly reduced doses of these remedies to provide effective therapy with little or no
    aggravation. Indicative dosing comparisons include:
    Aqua Hydration Formulas:
    Recommended starting dose: 7 drops bd
    My starting dose: 1 drop bd
    Heel Galium-Heel:
    Recommended starting dose: 10 drops tid
    My starting dose: 1 drop daily
    Herbal mixes:
    Recommended starting dose: 5ml tid
    My starting dose: 5 drops tid
    Byron White Formulas:
    Recommended starting dose: 1-2 drops bd
    My starting dose: 1 drop daily

    10-15% of debilitated patients will aggravate/ herx on even these low starting doses. For homeopathic remedies, the most effective dilution is K dilution (to be explained) while, with herbal remedies, the choices are either quantity
    dilution or K dilution (to be compared)

  • Ecoclimber March 20, 2013, 9:19 pm

    Patients with Lyme disease can be misdiagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome!

    A case of Lyme disease requiring over 1 year to diagnose at an infectious-disease clinic
    Abstract

    A 42-year-old woman presenting with years of fever and vague symptoms could not be satisfactorily diagnosed in physical examination or conventional workups. She was presumptively diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and treated symptomatically. Fourteen months after the initial visit, she developed left facial palsy. Lyme disease serology was positive. Four weeks of oral amoxicillin ameliorated symptoms. Only 5 to 15 cases of Lyme disease are reported annually in Japan, mostly from the northeastern-most island of Hokkaido. It may occur anywhere in Japan, however; probably is underdiagnosed. Lyme disease may cause fevers of unknown origin. Astute clinical suspicion and appropriate workups are thus needed to diagnose this infection.

    Eco

  • GcMAF Australia March 20, 2013, 9:25 pm

    There was a lot more said at the conference and so i am slowly getting it together

  • kolowesi March 21, 2013, 10:58 am

    Great article. I satisfy criteria for ME/CFS and for Lyme. Testing issues:
    1. I had less than 1/4 normal absolute B cell count when tested at 18 months. Wouldn't this affect an antibody test?
    2. My blood cells blow up starting at 2 hours. (Babesia?) Wouldn't this affect any test requiring whole blood, which is supposed to be good for 24 hours?
    3. Western Blot, I had one band year 8 (under Montoya) Quest test. I had two bands (under Lerner) year 9 Labcorp. Neither doctor diagnosed Lyme or did further testing. Year 9 new doctor thought I had Lyme. Year 10, Igenex western blot positive IgM (by current CDC bands, one band short at the time) for Lyme.
    4. Treatment can interfere with test results. Supposedly best to take antibiotics a few weeks to get the Lyme out of hiding, then go off, then test. I think.
    5. Co-infections can interfere with test results. I have had reactivated EBV (positive IgM), active CMV and enterovirus (in stomach lining), positive HHV-6a according to research labs, positive mycolplasma by IgM. Many of these interfere with immune response or shift a person to Th-2 dominant.
    6. Biofilms can affect test results. I take fibrinolytic enzymes an hour before antibiotics (pharma and herbal) and I get a herx if I'm doing this and have been off antibiotics, but not if I don't take the enzymes.

    This is all just personal experience based on 15 years of trying to find out what's going on. Best to all who struggle and check hormones because you can have adrenal insufficiency, pituitary dysfunction and hormonal problems which will cause depression. That and lack of treatment, lack of support, and lack of money can lead a person to despair.

  • merylg March 29, 2013, 3:30 am

    Lyme Borrelia using Manganese to evade the immune system…

    http://www.livescience.com/28120-lyme-disease-manganese.html?cmpid=514627

  • anniekim April 1, 2013, 5:06 pm

    I did some testing with infectolab recently and don't know what to make of my results (been ill for 14 years, currently bedridden). I had no igg antibodies to borrelia but did have igm ospc to borrelia garni and band 41 (which I know is not specific). My LTT elispot was negative.

    I've read that you can have reactive igm's/repeatedly igms in late Lyme which then makes it impossible to differentiate between whether it is an early or late infection. Does anyone know if you have reactivating late igms as mentioned by Burrascno, would you then not have iggs? Are they mutually exclusive so to speak? Many thanks in advance.

  • GcMAF Australia April 1, 2013, 9:10 pm
    anniekim

    I did some testing with infectolab recently and don't know what to make of my results (been ill for 14 years, currently bedridden). I had no igg antibodies to borrelia but did have igm ospc to borrelia garni and band 41 (which I know is not specific). My LTT elispot was negative.

    I've read that you can have reactive igm's/repeatedly igms in late Lyme which then makes it impossible to differentiate between whether it is an early or late infection. Does anyone know if you have reactivating late igms as mentioned by Burrascno, would you then not have iggs? Are they mutually exclusive so to speak? Many thanks in advance.

    Annie
    i emailed this question to the CEO of infectolabs. maybe he will answer for you?

    GcMAF

  • taniaaust1 April 2, 2013, 12:19 am

    All my samples to be tested for lyme currently on way to a lab interstate. Now I just got to wait to find out if they show up anything.

  • taniaaust1 April 2, 2013, 12:26 am
    Enid

    As a silly comment can I add that the scientists involved in the various autopsies of the 5000 year old virtual mummy man in the Alps a little while ago found he suffered from Lyme disease. One feels bound to add if he can be tested so easily why not me !

    I thought the same when I read about that.

  • taniaaust1 April 2, 2013, 12:33 am
    GcMAF Australia

    Tick conference
    http://karlmcmanusfoundation.org.au/files/KMF_TBD2013_Booklet.pdf

    I think that in the US at least 95% of CFS patyients have Lyme infections!!!
    just a thought
    Big happenings at the tick conference
    looks like some good treatment options
    think the worm may have turned
    spoke to most of the Lyme doctors
    Government committee formed with 3 big pinch hitters from the Lyme community
    direct link straight to the cheif medical officer
    will update when i can

    i just had a thought GcMAF.. I was thinking that seeing around 50% of CFS patients here in Sth Australia have been found to have Rickettsia (a finding by Dr John Graham who got hundreds of CFS patients tested).. I guess it is highly likely those ones also have lyme. (my past Rickettsia testing thou was negative)

  • GcMAF Australia April 2, 2013, 1:00 am
    taniaaust1

    i just had a thought GcMAF.. I was thinking that seeing around 50% of CFS patients here in Sth Australia have been found to have Rickettsia (a finding by Dr John Graham who got hundreds of CFS patients tested).. I guess it is highly likely those ones also have lyme. (my past Rickettsia testing thou was negative)

    I think I would agree Tania

  • anniekim April 2, 2013, 4:26 am
    GcMAF Australia

    Annie
    i emailed this question to the CEO of infectolabs. maybe he will answer for you?

    GcMAF

    Gcmaf Australia, that's really kind of you to email this question to the CEO of infectolabs. I hope he answers as I will be very interested to hear his reply. Many thanks

  • JT1024 April 2, 2013, 12:26 pm

    I'm trying to learn what I can about Lyme now. I tested positive by IGeneX for Lyme (Western Blot), Anaplasmosis, and Babesia in the last month.

    In February, my tests included elevated titers for EBV, HHV-6, Mycoplasma, and Chlaymydia. I have not started antibiotics yet but feel like crap. Too tired and stupid to put one foot in front of the other right now.

    My dog (my avatar) had anaplasmosis so it was not surprising when I tested positive as well.

  • GcMAF Australia April 2, 2013, 4:33 pm
    anniekim

    Gcmaf Australia, that's really kind of you to email this question to the CEO of infectolabs. I hope he answers as I will be very interested to hear his reply. Many thanks

    Here is the email
    Here is some literature about isolated IgM as a sign for persisting Lyme:

    Craft J, Fischer DK, Shimamoto GT, Steere AC. 1986. J. Clin.Invest.1978: 934-939. Antigens ofBorrellaburgdorferi Recognized during Lyme Disease appearance of a new Immunoglobulin M response and expansion of the immunoglobulin G response late in the illness​
    Oksi J, Uksila J, Marjamäki M, NikoskelainenJ,Viljanen MK. 1995. J ClinMicrobiol. September: 33(9): 2260-2264. Antibodies against Whole SonicatedBorreliaburgdorferiSpirochetes, 41-Kilodalton Flagellin, and P39 Protein in Patientswith PCR- or Culture-ProvenLateLymeBorreliosis​
    Kalish RA, McHugh G, Granquist J, Shea B, Ruthazer R, Steere AC. Clinical InfectiousDiseases. 2001: 33:780-785 PersistenceofImmunoglobulin M orImmunoglobulin G Antibody Responses toBorreliaburgdorferi 10–20 Years after ActiveLymeDisease​
    Lomholt H. et al. 2000 Sep-Oct. Acta Derm. Venereol.: 80(5): 362-6. Long-termserologicalfollow-upofpatientstreatedforchroniccutaneousBorreliosisofculture-positive erythemamigrans​
    Seriburi V, Ndukwe N, Chang Z, Cox ME, Wormser GP (2011) High frequencyoffalse positive IgM​
    ImmunoblotsforBorreliaburgdorferi in Clinical Practice. ClinMicrobiolInfect , European Society of Clinical MicrobiologyandInfectiousDiseases. 10.1111/j.1469-0691.2011.03749.x​
    Racine R., McLaughlin M. Jonesa DD. et al. (2011) IgMProductionbyBoneMarrowPlasmablasts​
    Contributesto Long-Term ProtectionagainstIntracellularBacterialInfection. J Immunol 186, 1011-1021​
    Prepublished online 8 http://www.jimmunol.org/content/186/2/1011 “Ourstudiesidentify a cellpopulationthatisresponsiblefortheIgMproduction in thebonemarrow, andtheyhighlight a novelroleforIgM in themaintenanceoflong-termimmunityduringintracellularbacterialinfection”.​
    And here are my results from a study of 50 chronic Lyme patients:​

    40 % Seronegativity​
    28 % IgG-“Rest“-Titer​
    22 % IgM- andIgG-Persistence​
    10 % IsolatedIgM-Persistence​

    Best regards
    Armin

  • Sushi April 2, 2013, 6:27 pm

    GcMAF Australia

    I know that is supposed to be English, but it is the kind of English that needs translation! :confused:

    And you are a certified translator!

    Soooo….

    Sushi

  • GcMAF Australia April 2, 2013, 9:00 pm

    er
    er..
    I think that this says that in 50 chronic patients
    40 had no antibodies
    28 had IGG
    22 had IgM and IgG
    10 had IGM

    Remember Lyme has no rules , well maybe it does just dont know them yet.
    Or-
    There are known unknowns
    & unknown unknowns. ??/;)

  • Sushi April 2, 2013, 9:05 pm
    GcMAF Australia

    er
    er..
    I think that this says that in 50 chronic patients
    40 had no antibodies
    28 had IGG
    22 had IgM and IgG
    10 had IGM
    Remember Lyme has no rules , well maybe it does just dont know them yet.
    Or-
    There are known unknowns
    & unknown unknowns. ??/;)

    That is one tricky pathogen! 40 with no antibodies–there goes the most common testing….

    Sushi

  • Shoesies April 3, 2013, 7:09 am

    Holy Toledo!

  • anniekim April 3, 2013, 10:24 am

    Thanks Gcmaf for that. One thing I don't understand the Seriburi study included in the list above seems to be a paper just warning that many people who don't have Lyme can have a false positive igm. This is my fear. Do you have any thoughts on that study?

    If I had a much clearer positive, ie, a few positive igg bands, rather than one just one Lyme specific igm I.d think I'd feel more confident to try Lyme treatment. At the mo, I really don't know whether it's an avenue I should go down. Very confused at the mo.

    Gcmaf, the figures you included above, from 50 patients etc.., which study is that in the list given above? Many thanks

    EDIT:

    please ignore last question, didn't read your post correctly, see it is the doctor's study

  • merylg April 23, 2013, 10:46 pm
  • merylg May 2, 2013, 6:03 am

    http://www.lymepa.org/Chronic_Lyme_…osis_and_a_possible_cure_with_antibiotics.pdf

  • snowathlete May 2, 2013, 9:51 am
    merylg

    http://www.lymepa.org/Chronic_Lyme_…osis_and_a_possible_cure_with_antibiotics.pdf

    It's a very interesting hypothesis, but have they followed it up with the kinds of studies they talked about needing?

  • wallace May 2, 2013, 12:45 pm

    We need more information. I urge people to buy this. Tests for bartonella are useless:http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Lyme-…536&sr=1-1&keywords=stephen buhner bartonella

  • wallace May 2, 2013, 12:46 pm

    Healing Lyme Disease Coinfections: Complementary and Holistic Treatments for Bartonella and Mycoplasma (No) [Paperback]

    Stephen Harrod Buhner

    (Author)
    List Price: $19.95
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    This title will be released on May 5, 2013.
    Pre-order now.
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    Book Description

    Release date: May 5, 2013 | Series: No
    A guide to the natural treatment of two of the most common and damaging coinfections of Lyme disease–Bartonella and Mycoplasma
    • Reveals how these conditions often go undiagnosed, complicate Lyme treatment, and cause a host of symptoms–from arthritis to severe brain dysfunction
    • Outlines natural treatments for both infections, with herbs and supplements for specific symptoms and to combat overreactions of the immune system
    • Reviews the latest scientific research on Bartonella and Mycoplasma coinfections and how treatment with antibiotics is often ineffective
    Each year Harvard researchers estimate there are nearly 250,000 new Lyme disease infections–only 10 percent of which will be accurately diagnosed. One of the largest factors in misdiagnosis of Lyme is the presence of other tick-borne infections, which mask or aggravate the symptoms of Lyme disease as well as complicate treatment. Two of the most common and damaging Lyme coinfections are Bartonella and Mycoplasma. Nearly 35 million people in the United States are asymptomatically infected with each of these pathogens, and at least 10 percent will become symptomatic every year–with symptoms ranging from arthritis to severe brain dysfunction.
    Distilling hundreds of peer-reviewed journal articles on the latest scientific research on Bartonella, Mycoplasma, and Lyme disease, Stephen Buhner examines the complex synergy between these infections and reveals how all three can go undiagnosed or resurface after antibiotic treatment. He explains how these coinfections create cytokine cascades in the body–essentially sending the immune system into an overblown, uncontrolled response in much the same way that rheumatoid arthritis or cancer can. Detailing effective natural holistic methods centered on herbs and supplements, such as the systemic antibacterial herb Sida acuta, which acts to protect blood cells from invading organisms, he reveals how to treat specific symptoms, interrupt the cytokine cascades, and bring the immune system back into balance as well as complement ongoing Lyme disease treatments.
    Show less

  • snowathlete May 2, 2013, 2:31 pm

    I'm working on an article about Bartonella right now.

  • merylg May 5, 2013, 6:22 am
  • JT1024 May 5, 2013, 11:20 am

    kolowesi

    I have similar co-infections to yours and still need treatment for them. For me it has been overwhelming to figure out who to go to since LLMD's don't advertise.

    There are three LLMD's within an hour of where I live but most don't take insurance. At least my state passed laws so physicians treating Lyme cannot be prosecuted for not abiding by IDSA guidelines.

    Unfortunately, the insurance companies have still been denying payment for treatments so patients have born the burden of horrific costs.

    I just read of a case where in one family, 4 of 5 children tested positive for Lyme yet the insurance company denied treatment of IV antibiotics for one daughter (pg 23 of state report "Lyme Disease in Massaaschusetts" published February 28th 2013).

    The politics of chronic disease is truly scary.

  • merylg May 8, 2013, 7:37 pm

    Perth Today Tonight – Lyme Forum

  • merylg May 11, 2013, 7:19 pm
  • merylg May 12, 2013, 7:04 pm
  • merylg May 15, 2013, 10:31 pm

    Interviews recorded at the recent NSW Lyme protest outside NSW Health office, North Sydney.

    https://soundcloud.com/after-dinner-mint/audio-interviews-from-5-lyme#play

  • snowathlete May 24, 2013, 5:17 am

    KDM thinks I have Borreliosis. I had a p41 reaction on the test (flagella) and immune results suggest it as well as some symptoms.

  • snowathlete May 26, 2013, 10:32 am
  • JT1024 May 26, 2013, 10:46 am

    Just found a great deal of information here: http://www.lymebook.com/steven-harris

  • snowathlete May 26, 2013, 11:29 am
    JT1024

    Just found a great deal of information here: http://www.lymebook.com/steven-harris

    the stuff about TMJ is interesting. We have a thread on TMJ here somewhere…At the moment I have some pain in teeth and last week saw the dentist and he says there is no sign of infection there. He isn't sure what to make of it. I swear it is worse when I eat sugary things, and that perhaps makes sense with Borrelia…

    Also my jaw clicks sometimes, and is often excrusiatingly painful in the morning when I first chew something. Pain last a few seconds, then gone for the day usually. Its right on the TMJ joint.

  • merylg June 6, 2013, 3:25 pm
  • merylg July 26, 2013, 9:03 am
  • merylg July 27, 2013, 5:49 am
  • GcMAF Australia August 10, 2013, 1:27 am

    Here is an up date from Huffington

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/c-m-r…-edu_74_b_3729435.html?utm_hp_ref=email_share

  • merylg August 14, 2013, 12:03 am
  • merylg August 14, 2013, 5:02 am
  • Nielk August 14, 2013, 6:21 am
    snowathlete

    the stuff about TMJ is interesting. We have a thread on TMJ here somewhere…At the moment I have some pain in teeth and last week saw the dentist and he says there is no sign of infection there. He isn't sure what to make of it. I swear it is worse when I eat sugary things, and that perhaps makes sense with Borrelia…

    Also my jaw clicks sometimes, and is often excrusiatingly painful in the morning when I first chew something. Pain last a few seconds, then gone for the day usually. Its right on the TMJ joint.

    I'm sorry Snow about your pains.:(