Lyme disease is commonly recognized by the public as an infectious disease caused by the Borrelia bacterium. There are roughly two dozen species in the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato complex. But not all are human pathogens. Various species are further divided into hundreds of strains worldwide. A health care provider should consider the probability of other co-infections usually associated with Lyme, such as Babesia, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, and Bartonella. These co-infections can cause symptoms of their own. Lyme can affect any system of the body such as the neurological system, lymphatic system, circulatory system, detoxification systems, the joint and muscular structures, heart, brain, digestive system and the brain.
Typical acute symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. Some people may experience numbness or tingling in some areas which can be mistaken for other neurological diseases. The most complex cases are multi-faceted with long-term symptoms. It is not uncommon to find associated psyche-emotional involvement, a history of trauma, genetic snps, and multi-organ system stress. Visual disturbances, chronic fatigue, generalized joint and myo-fascial ache, brain fog, and seizures are other reported complaints. Some individuals have difficulty metabolizing and absorbing herbal remedies and supplements. The Center for Holistic Healing welcomes the simple and most complex cases to help individuals return to an active life.
Lyme Disease most commonly is acquired from the bite of an infected black-legged tick. But there have been multiple reports and articles indicating that it is spread by other means as well.
Testing at a time within the first few weeks of exposure after signs of EM is unlikely to give a positive result because it takes time to develop antibodies to the infection. Current tests sometimes fail to identify patients who do have Lyme disease if testing is done too early or too late in the illness. A negative test result alone is not sufficient to definitively rule out Lyme disease as the cause of your symptoms.
Common tests for Lyme disease include ELISAs and Western blots. Both tests work by detecting the patient’s antibodies reacting to the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. Many factors affect that response and the tests’ ability to measure it, and can produce both false positive and false negative results. A CD-57can be helpful in determining a positive result. With low CD 57 counts, Lyme disease and Chlamydophila pneumoniae infections might be considered, but remains inconclusive as a diagnosis.
For complete research and updates on Lyme Disease, refer to ilads.org.
1 The Centers for Disease Control website, https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/faq/index.html. Last visited 11/1/17.
2 Vector-borne diseases. European Environment Agency. Last visited 1/31/18.
3 Smith RP, Schoen RT, Rahn DW, et al. Clinical characteristics and treatment outcome of early lyme disease in patients with microbiologically confirmed erythema migrans. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2002;136(6):421–428. [PubMed]