What if some Lyme isn't really Lyme?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by tansy, Oct 9, 2005.

  1. tansy

    tansy New Member

    Sunday News Staff

    What if the debilitating illness that sickens hundreds of New Hampshire
    residents every year comes from a different strain of bacteria than the
    one that causes Lyme disease in other states?

    Could that help resolve the ongoing controversy over testing and
    treatment of an illness that often continues even after patients are
    treated with antibiotics?

    Some medical experts say it's possible.

    Dr. Jose Montero, state epidemiologist at the Department of Health and
    Human Services, said there are many diseases that can cause similar
    symptoms and even cross-react in diagnostic tests — such as West Nile
    virus, Eastern equine encephalitis and St. Louis encephalitis, which are
    all transmitted by mosquitoes.

    "It may be in the realm of possibility that something similar may be
    happening to these particular patients," he said, referring to Lyme
    disease patients who have chronic symptoms, even after treatment. "It
    may be that we are missing some other thing that looks similar and
    causes a similar illness but as yet has not been identified."

    Indeed, scientists have discovered that some patients who get Lyme
    disease also become co-infected — apparently from the same tick bite —
    with other tick-borne diseases, including babesiosis and erlichiosis.
    Such co-infections can make diagnosis and treatment more problematic,
    doctors say.
    Different types of Lyme?
    Dr. Rex Carr, a Lebanon physician who treats numerous Lyme disease
    patients, noted there are different strains of the "borrelia" spirochete
    that causes Lyme disease; Europe sees different strains than the one
    identified as the cause of illness in Lyme, Conn., he said.

    Here's his theory about why some New Hampshire patients test negative
    for Lyme disease, despite having numerous symptoms of the illness:
    "There's probably more than one bacteria causing the disease that we're
    seeing. In other words, it may not be Lyme, Connecticut, Lyme disease,
    and that's why the disparity in the testing."

    He noted several years ago, health department officials in Missouri
    began tracking an illness that looked a lot like Lyme disease, with a
    similar rash and flu-like symptoms. But patients tested negative for
    Lyme disease; the look-a-like illness became known as Master's disease,
    after the family doctor who first started studying it.

    The CDC refers to this new illness as "Southern tick-associated rash
    illness" (STARI), and attributes it to the bite of the lone star tick in
    southeastern and south-central states. The agency, on its Web site,
    notes that a spirochete, distinct from the one that causes Lyme disease,
    has been detected using DNA analysis.
    Different spirochetes
    Meanwhile, a study published in an obscure medical journal —
    Vector-Borne Zoonotic Diseases — in the spring of 2001 reported the
    discovery of "a species of Borrelia spirochetes previously unknown from
    North America has been found to be transmitted by Ixodes scapularis
    ticks." Those are the black-legged ticks that transmit Lyme disease in
    Eastern states, including New Hampshire.

    The study found the spirochete was distinct from the one that causes
    Lyme disease, but closely related to a group of spirochetes found in
    similar ticks in Japan. The study found the new spirochete in ticks from
    Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey.

    The study concluded that "further work is needed to determine the
    potential health significance of yet another zoonotic agent transmitted
    by this tick species."
    Other possibilities

    Paul Mead, a medical epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control,
    said he can't rule out the possibility that another bacteria is causing
    a Lyme-like illness in New Hampshire.

    But he said the antibody testing done to detect Lyme disease would
    "likely" still turn up positive for another strain of the bacteria. "One
    of the strengths of serologic testing is that it can produce
    cross-reactions, so if you are infected with a closely related organism
    you will often test positive," he said.

    "Now, is it possible that there's some borrelia which is a very weird
    mutant and quite a bit different and causing these symptoms? It's
    possible, but it could also be a bacteria or a virus or any number of
    other things," he said.
  2. victoria

    victoria New Member

    could you tell me what newspaper this was in?

    I totally agree with the article, reflects what the LL clinic I take my son to told us, but bottomline is treatment will be approximately the same...

    the LL clinic tried several combinations of 6 different abx to see what his reactions would be, and are still recombining with those that seemed most effective - and he definitely had different reactions to different combinations...

    so far, he actually suddenly seems to be feeling better, but keeping my fingers crossed. If only it is this fast, I will be so happy... it's "only" been 6 cycles of abx so far. Hope is on the horizon that he can get on with his life...

    all the best,
  3. tansy

    tansy New Member

    in New Hampshire's Union Leader.

    love, Tansy
  4. victoria

    victoria New Member



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