Question -- how specific are tests to Bb versus other Borrelia species?

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kimwg
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 1/31/2009 1:42 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi All,

After 20 months of health problems -- with the last 7 being just intolerable -- I have been diagnosed with Lyme, based on symptoms and positive serology. (Like many, I had no rash and very few of the "classic" symptoms like joint pain, and would have gone undiagnosed but for doctors at a Chronic Fatigue treatment center who tested for it to rule out other lookalike diseases!)

Anyway, I tested positive -- waaay positive. Tests from IgeneX, IgG positive by lab and CDC criteria, IgM positive by lab criteria (one band short of the CDC criteria). Now, I've had a TON of tickbites -- thing is, all the ones I remember have been in Central America. I am a biologist, and I do lots of field work there in tropical forests. Now, there's not supposed to be any Lyme there -- and I suppose I could have gotten it in the US, as I have lived in several different endemic areas. (Though I don't actually do many outdoorsy activities when I'm home, I guess since I spend so much time outdoors for my work!)

I'm wondering how specific the bands are for Bb versus other Borrelia species -- some other species are known from Central America, which supposedly only cause a relapsing fever (as opposed to Lyme like symptoms). I don't have my results in front of me but I do know that I was positive for bands corresponding to OspA/B/C -- are these specific to Bb to the exclusion of other Borrelias, or can other species show up as positive on the test?

I found a LLMD in my area and start antibiotics in 2 weeks (after I get treated for two different gut parasites which I certainly acquired in the tropics -- my doc didn't want to overwhelm my system all at once with meds for everything.)

Thanks for any info!

dorit
Regular Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 375
   Posted 1/31/2009 4:00 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi kimwg,

let me say welcome to you!

So you do not know where you got it - like me. I know of tickbites I got here (garden) and some I got abroad. I was in the very same situation like you, means: is the result of the testing representative to bb in general or not (the sensu stricto vs. sensu lato thing). I was told that the outer surface proteines (Ospa) are representative for sensu lato. I dont know if that is really tru or just whishful thinking of the labs.They did a westernblot too to check the Elisa results because I could have brought a lot of stuff home which they said could possiblly interfere the Elisa and cause a positive result.
Another story is that nothing is impossible: I know of somebody who stayed in Central America and got very sick back home; he stayed at places where there should not be Leishmania, but the got it and he got it real bad.

I think I would rule out as much other possible infections as I can with bloodtests and then go the abx route so see what happens.

I hope you get better soon! dorit

Post Edited (dorit) : 1/31/2009 7:13:11 AM (GMT-7)


kimwg
New Member


Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 1/31/2009 11:33 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks -- the sensu lato thing is exactly what I'm talking about. Of course, IMO there is no compelling reason to think that there is no Lyme in Central America. I did find a couple of articles reporting seropostive people in Mexico, all of whom had never left Mexico. To my knowledge, nobody's every actually gone to CAm and screened a bunch of ticks or potential hosts for Bb; I think it's just an assumption that there's no Lyme. Due to poor public health and few resources for medical care, many people in Central America (particularly poor people in the countryside) have chronic health problems that go untreated which could be Lyme disease. Compared to some of the health problems (e.g., dengue fever), Lyme could actually be relatively unproblematic! (And therefore overlooked.)
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