The following is an excerpt from Lyme Savvy: Treatment Insights for Lyme Patients and Practitioners.
We open this section talking about Bartonella, but Lyme disease is also discussed. Keep reading to find out more.
Disease Transmission to Humans
There are many ways to get Bartonella, including from your cat. When infected, cats have a million fold higher circulating level of Bartonella. If they are indoor/outdoor cats or feral cats, 80% or more carry Bartonella. The numbers are probably higher but even the sickest cats will have four-to-five days of the month during which they will no detectable Bartonella in their blood. There are many ways to get Bartonella: from fleas, cats, and potentially other biting insects strongly suspected but not strictly proven. So it becomes a much more prevalent infection.
The other Protozoa infections probably follow the same pathways in terms of the ways they are spread. Vectors are agents that transmit the various Protozoa that makes people sick. Protozoa get into and on red cells that can be transmitted by mosquitoes, known transmitters of Protozoa. It stands to reason, then, that Babesia and Babesia-like things can be transmitted by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes may be the principle vector.
Here we all are worried about deer ticks and most patients with Lyme Disease cannot remember a deer tick bite. But everyone I know can remember a mosquito bite. Everyone I know has probably run into fleas more often than they have run into deer ticks. There are all kinds of fleas. There are sand fleas at the beach. There are fleas on your cat, fleas on your dog.
Nine percent of dogs carry Bartonella but when they do, their blood levels are a lot lower so I don’t think they represent as big a reservoir or a risk as cats do.
The landscape of chronic infection is far bigger than just Borrelia.
This probably explains why patients with these chronic symptoms will all classify their condition as Lyme Disease; it punches their card into a support system. It is a way to describe what they have.
But it retards scientific progress because the term is too broad, given the way it is used by the layperson and even many LLMDs.
I recently attended a Lyme-related conference and listened as two well-respected physicians stated they believe the primary “culprit” to treat in chronically ill patients is Borrelia.
These two physicians who spoke at the conference stated they rarely test for co-infections. After spending so many years trying to figure out what was causing my symptoms, I couldn’t help but think, If you don’t look for something, you are not going to find it.
It is true that only a short time ago testing for co-infections was not very accurate, but medical science continues to make amazing, significant discoveries in this field. When I started treatment in September of 2009, these tests were not yet available. Maybe most patients do have Lyme and not a co-infection. But we certainly will never find out unless all patients are tested for co-infections from these new, reliable testing facilities. My treatment would never have succeeded if I had not been tested for co-infections.
Please, get tested for co-infections from the specialty labs. Yes, it is expensive. But the treatment protocol for co-infections will be different than the treatment for Borrelia. You cannot be treated properly if you don’t know what infections you have. And if you cannot be treated properly, you will not heal.