To properly answer your question would take a long, scientifically written paper! I will try to give you a short version of some of the things you might read about
in the literature. Lyme diagnosis and treatments (as well as coinfections) are very controversial because there is a great need for more research to answer all the questions and theories that the medical community has about
these diseases. Some doctors think patients experience symptoms because of an actual ongoing, current infection, therefor requiring continual treatment with antibiotics in an attempt to kill the infection. Other doctors think that the "germs" are killed by a short course of drugs, but the patient continues to experience symptoms due to built up toxins that the body could not get rid of, therefor more drugs are not necessary. Or they think the symptoms are due to some other cause, like an autoimmune disease, or other medical problem. Other docs think it's "all in our heads".
There are multiple strains of each of these bacteria and coinfections, and seemingly an endless "soup mix" that is possible in each of us. There are viruses that can exchange their DNA with the bacteria and this can actually change the traits of the "germs". This complicates treatment. The more "germs" that jump into the "game", the more complicated it gets.
These bacteria are considered to be "stealth pathogens". They take on several different forms and each form helps them to evade our immune systems and drugs. Drugs are often switched around to try and chase each of these forms wherever they are hiding out. It is difficult to figure out which drug each form is sensitive to, and the forms can change quickly in response to the treatment.
Many doctors are concerned about
the creation of "superbugs" due to the overuse, misuse, or long term use of antibiotics in patients. Also, the medical community has seen a lot of relapses even after long term use of drugs, making them suspicious that something else is going on.
You mentioned syphilis and it's long treatment time. Lyme (Borrelia) is also a spirochete. They're tough.
These are just a few of the reasons this group of diseases is complicated and difficult to treat. You will read about
many more as you research and educate yourself. I hope this helps. Best wishes. bablymers mom
Post Edited (bablymers) : 12/28/2008 2:33:23 AM (GMT-7)