Borreliosis/Lyme Disease can be a serious bacterial infection caused by Borrelia species, also known as a spirochete, which is transmitted via a tick bite (perhaps also flea and mosquito bites). Many strains of Borrelia exist, and some do not cause disease. Nonetheless, there are likely greater than 100 strains of pathogenic Borrelia and probably more as yet unidentified. Certainly geographic strain differences exist, especially with regards to continents, as the disease causing bacteria has also been documented in Europe, Australia, China, South America and Africa. Borreliosis/Lyme Disease and coinfections are most probably ubiquitous and found on every continent in the world.
Borreliosis/Lyme Disease and other tick-borne illness can present as acute or chronic infection(s) depending on the length of exposure to the bacteria and the pathogen load at the time of infection. Often the infection(s) is treated with appropriate antibiotics, but at other times when persistent long term infection ensues, treatment becomes more difficult. To complicate matters further, ticks carry other infectious bacteria in addition to Borrelia. They include: Babesia, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, Bartonella, and Mycoplasma for certain, but there may be other bacteria, viruses and fungi not yet identified that are problematic and disease causing as well. Additionally, a tick bite may also transmit the newly identified HGRV retrovirus. However, to date the latter infection has not yet been scientifically documented as a vector-borne disease.
More likely, the presence of Borrelia sets the stage for the invasion of opportunistic secondary infections (i.e., HHV6, EBV, Cytomegalovirus, Parvovirus B19, Chlamydia pneumonia, Candida) by lowering the overall host’s immune system function. This allows proliferation of other infections that in effect overwhelm the body’s inherent immune defense mechanisms. Intestinal parasites such as hook worm, tape worm, flukes, etc., may also contribute to intestinal illness seen in tick borne disease. Further discussion of this matter as it directly pertains to you will occur at your initial office visit.
Borreliosis/Lyme Disease is well known for variable symptom presentation which is one of the reasons it is so difficult to diagnose. Arthritis, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, Parkinson’s Disease, Crohn’s Disease, Irritable Bowel Disease, autoimmune diseases, a myriad of psychiatric disorders, and Autism are simply a few of the diagnoses where Lyme Disease should be considered in the differential diagnosis. This is precisely why Lyme Disease is known as the “Great Imitator”, because the constellation of symptoms observed in a patient is likely to be confused with other diagnoses. Additionally, the incidence of Borreliosis/Lyme Disease and coinfections in the United States alone has been steadily escalating since the mid 1980’s. Although Borrelia was first identified in 1975 by Dr. Willie Burgdorfer in Lyme, Connecticut, global recognition of the bacteria’s presence and severity remains elusive.