Hi MartinK, one possibility could be that the fever is helping against borrelia. There were studies with syphilis that showed hyperthermia treatment was effective mode of treatment (and if taking abx made them more effective).
I think this is why people see success at the St Georg Klinik in Germany, they focus on hyperthermia treatment (combo'd with abx). I've heard this treatment is most effective for borrelia because it is heat-sensitive, and fever is one way body can fight infections. I don't know if hyperthermia has a lot of success with coinfections though, I think they are not as susceptible to heat if memory serves.
Another experiment involved malaria to treat syphilis, a form of pyrotherapy (artificially induced fevers). They would inoculate syphilis patients with malaria which induced fevers, and the fevers helped treat the syphilis. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/bodyhorrors/2014/05/31/pyromania-syphilis-malaria/#.xavib439018
This was an excerpt written by Thomas Grier on the subject:
Hyperthermia to Treat Syphilis
In 1941 the city of Chicago was the hub where soldiers awaited final transportation to their next assignment. This undoubtedly contributed to the city’s Syphilis epidemic where 7% of the city’s population had symptomatic Syphilis.
Dr. Herman Bundesen was the City Health Commissioner and was given special authority by the governor and the military to get the Wartime Syphilis epidemic under control. At this time neither the private sector nor the military had mass-produced penicillin in the quantities needed to address a public epidemic of this magnitude.
Faced with a choice between poisonous mercurial, and arsenic treatments, Dr. Bundesen chose another alternative that was not well accepted. He chose to treat all stages of Syphilis by using individual steam cabinets to raise the internal core temperature to above 102F.
To accomplish the increase in body temperature the cabinets’ air temperature is far hotter than 102F, and a gauge outside the cabinets indicated the patient’s rectal temperature.
Although clinically Dr. Bundesen had good success at achieving “cures”: patient compliance was poor. To the soldiers it was torture and time-slowed down when locked in the steam cabinets. The soldiers endured nearly unbearable nausea, fatigue and malaise.
So what Dr. Bundesen did to increase the young soldier's compliance was: he replaced his trained medical nurses with untrained young women who were the most beautiful women his staff could hire.
Instead of cold indifference and chastisement of soldiers wanting to quit therapy: Dr Bundesen instead encouraged the nurses to flirt, and wipe the men’s heads with ice packs and towels. The stand in nurse would constantly praise the patients for their bravery and endurance.
Compliance improved dramatically and quickly, and Syphilis rates dropped from 7 % to 3 %
Then in 1942 Penicillin became available and the new protocol of treatment was to give a huge shot of penicillin on day one of the first week, and then another large shot day one of the 2nd week, and sent back to service while recuperating.
This new Intramuscular Penicillin protocol shaved an entire week off the hyperthermia treatment schedule, so the military was insistent that this would completely replace hyperthermia treatments that could take 2-3 weeks.
Dr. Bundesen argued for the continuation of Hyperthermia along with the penicillin, and in fact his data of the combined therapy was quite impressive especially in Tertiary Syphilis cases. He also showed that penicillin would enter the patient’s brain 3x better if the patient’s body temperature was 102F or higher.
This observation would be confirmed agin almost 50 years later by doctor Robert Gasser MD (UK) who found that in the test tube penicillin worked 16x better when you raised the temperature in infected animals from 98F to 102F.
Well one man can’t fight the entire US Army and so from 1943 on, Penicillin became mono-therapy for Syphilis for soldiers. Of course it also became mono-therapy for civilians.
This resulted in the closure of hundreds of Hot-Springs in America where Syphilis patients had been self medicating by soaking in the hottest of the hot-springs available, and sometimes in the most luxurious of resorts.
Since Borrelia species is also a heat labile spirochete like Treponema pallidum, the question today is: Can hyperthermia successfully treat Borreliosis with or without antibiotics?
One problem is that Borrelia miyamotoi likes higher temperatures than B, burgdorferi, so in patients with combined infections, hyperthermia may not be so affective.