It is very accurate. They don't do it because there is only one commercial lab in the US doing culture for Bartonella and without an isolate you can culture, you cannot perform susceptibility testing. It also takes a lot of time.
I worked carefully together with a befriended microbiologist who sees it as a fun project to learn new things. We use his laboratory and I pay for all the resources, culture medium etc needed to do it correctly.
It is not easy, needs a lot of expertise and is expensive.
But it fits with what I experience too:
I responded very positively to tetracyclines and macrolides in the past. But my first doctor prescribed them 3 weeks on, 1 week off.
After a while the antibiotics stopped working and I slipped back. Persistence of Lyme was proven by PCR. Treatment with IV antibiotics helped and never a Lyme symptom returned. PCR never came back positive again. No indication of treatment failure for Lyme.
But retreatment with tetracyclines and macrolides didn't result in improvement of relapsed symptoms during IV rocephin.
Culture confirmed Bartonella. ciprofloxacine worked in improving the symptoms that didn't respond to tetracyclines or macrolides anymore. We decided to check for resistance, we confirmed resistance. We understood this must have happened from pulse treatments.
Combined with the knowledge that co-infections such as Bartonella become rapidly resistant and the earlier strongly positive response to treatment with these antibiotics suggests resistance developed from too short and pulsed treatments.
Treatment was always with double antibiotics.
From the literature I know combining a drug does not always stop the bacteria from developing resistance. Especially when you give the infection time to regrow by stopping therapy to early multiple times. With Borrelia, in vitro this is different, but with co-infections this is much different and they can develop resistance. Some of them rapidly.
What ILADS doctors think is persistance of Borrelia, might as well be, in more cases, resistance to the used drugs because they use rotating antibiotics and don't have a clue if the bacteria are susceptible to the used drugs.
They actually should use culture and susceptibility testing more often for infections like Bartonella to confirm the chosen antibiotics are actually effective.
Post Edited (LymeBasics) : 12/23/2017 5:17:35 PM (GMT-7)