Chronic Lyme Disease a Myth as Researchers Finger New Infections – Bloomberg
People who have recurring symptoms of Lyme disease after taking a full course of antibiotics most likely have a new infection, according to research that undercuts the theory that the illness can relapse.
The Lyme Disease bacterium is spread by the tick bite that appears in the form of a “bull’s-eye rash,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If untreated, patients may develop fatigue, fever and muscle aches, palsy and eventually arthritis, nerve and heart disease.
A small number of patients have reported symptoms years after their initial treatment, raising concern that an incurable form of the disease exists, said Robert Nadelman, a researcher at New York Medical College in Valhalla. He analyzed bacteria from 17 people with consecutive episodes of the rash starting in 1991, and found the infections were caused by genetically distinct bacteria. There’s less than a one in five million chance that happened by chance, he said.
“Our data provide compelling evidence that courses of antibiotics that are recommended by Infectious Disease Society of America regularly cure early Lyme disease,” said Nadelman, a professor of medicine in the division of infectious diseases at New York Medical College in Valhalla, in a telephone interview. “When people have early Lyme disease again, it’s likely due to a new infection due to a new tick bite.”