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Testing for Co-Infections of Lyme Disease

Posted on May 21, 2017 in Blog |

The following is an excerpt written by Dr. B. Robert Mozayeni in our book Lyme Savvy: Treatment Insights for Lyme Patients and Practitioners. When we talk about Borrelia, we must talk about other infections called co-infections. I don’t know if there really is anything “co” about these infections. I think they are called co-infections because as Lyme patients’ symptoms didn’t respond to treatment, people started looking at other infections. So which germs really cause Lyme Disease? Co-infections found in patients include Babesia, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma infection, Bartonella or other proteobacteria, or Mycoplasma. One study done in New Jersey found by PCR, which is not as sensitive as enrichment culture followed by PCR, approximately a third of the ticks carry Borrelia, a third carry Bartonella, 2% carry Ehrlichia and 8% carry Babesia. The positive rate for Bartonella, could have been higher if the study had been done with enrichment culture followed by PCR – a method developed later. Researchers started recognizing the gut of a tick is not a place where the tick only selectively carries Borrelia. Ticks, like other insects, can carry various microbes. However, it is not proven that these microbes are transmitted by ticks; and it is not proven that they are not transmitted by ticks. It should not take a lot of research to determine this. If a tick is feeding off a variety of mammals why wouldn’t the gut of the tick have a whole bunch of different things in it? But it does create some interesting questions. For example, we have never really had a good Bartonella test until recently. How can we be really sure the ECM rash is only from Borrelia? What if the ECM rash is from both Borrelia and Bartonella? That is an interesting potential study. Is there some combination of microbe inoculation that has to occur in order for someone to get sick from a germ? Does it have to be Protozoa plus bacteria? Would the same person get as sick if they had only one of those? These are some of the questions related to these infections. The complexity goes up exponentially because now we have to go further...

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Disease Transmission to Humans

Posted on May 16, 2017 in Blog |

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 Dr. Mozayeni 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...

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The Traditional Western Blot Test

Posted on May 15, 2017 in Blog |

The following is an excerpt written by Dr. B.Robert Mozayeni included in our book Lyme Savvy: Treatment Insights for Lyme Patients and Practitioners. In2008, when I looked at Borrelia Western blots I gave it sort of a 3 or 4 out of 10 in terms of how confident I would be in the result if I saw a positive. There are some Western blots so glaringly positive that no one would argue them. That is part of the problem with the test. The result produced is along a spectrum of potential levels of confidence with great variability of clinical context. You can have a couple of weak bands and to a really sick patient with no other answers – those results can justify their treatment. To a healthy patient, the same results would be interpreted as negative or normal. Context is always important, not only for interpretation of test results, but for choice and timing of treatment. Great — but what if you get the wrong treatment because you have Bartonella causing weak positive bands on the Borrelia Western blot? Then you are going to have only a temporary improvement and a relapse. Then Lyme doctors will start telling you “we can temporarily get you better but we cannot fix you.” Usually, as much as they may try, they don’t actually know the cause; or they do know and may not have the right treatment. If you see only IgM-positive bands on the Lyme Western blot, then you definitely need to test for co-infections, especially Bartonella. The Borrelia Western blot scores a 3 or 4 out of 10 in terms of my general confidence level because it is an indirect test, looking at antibody responses to a germ. There is nothing better than actually directly detecting a germ such as by detecting its DNA signature or at least its unique proteins encoded by the DNA. Then you can be sure you have that microbe. Unfortunately, a sensitive and specific test like this has not been available for Borrelia. Lately, some companies have developed enrichment culture methods. This is encouraging but fraught with pitfalls for potential contamination. We need more...

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Traditional Tick Bite Treatment

Posted on May 13, 2017 in Blog |

The following is an excerpt written by Dr. B. Robert Mozayeni from our book Lyme Savvy: Treatment Insights for Lyme Patients and Practitioners. Traditional Tick Bite Treatment Diagnosis for Lyme Disease is not simple and neither is treatment. Let’s move out three months from the original tick bite and classic ECM rash. Now we have a patient who is ill and the antibody tests are still not clearly positive. In the meanwhile, that person has already had the standard two weeks of doxycycline because a practitioner wanted to allay the patient’s concerns even though the Western blot done in the beginning was negative. Let’s assume the Western blot has slightly changed, but not in any way that convinces anyone. In other words, they might have one new IgG band or maybe the total antibody, or the EIA, is now slightly positive or weakly positive. Now we have this symptom complex and it is not clear. In other words, there is no other explanation and we cannot prove it is from the original event. At this point, doctors who believe that only a two-week protocol is necessary to start calling this post-Lyme syndrome. They may not call it that until it is a few more months out. They might give the person up to 30 days of doxycycline. They might even add another antibiotic if that didn’t work. But to those who believe antibiotics are uniformly 100% effective against Borrelia there is no other explanation other than calling the problems the patients is experiencing post-Lyme syndrome. Other physicians are apt to believe it is common sense that this patient still has Lyme Disease because the patient originally had the tick bite with the diagnostic ECM rash. At this point, because there is no other explanation, we need to simply intensify or extend the treatment for chronic Borreliosis. The point to make about this debate is it can exist only in the absence of good information. You can have this argument over what it is and what it isn’t because you really don’t have any way to disprove or prove either theory. So people argue over whose evidence is bigger and...

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Am I Cured?

Posted on May 7, 2017 in Blog |

If I had realized back in 2009 that I would still be in treatment of some sort seven years later, I am not sure I would have stuck with the plan. I was lucky in a few ways. First, I was directed to the world’s best physician in treating Bartonella. He knew how to test me and treat me. Two years after starting treatment, I was clear of Bartonella. I have tested clear of Bartonella since 2011. But I also tested positive for Babesia. Babesia is also a co-infection of Lyme disease. The parasite that leads to Babesia is commonly seen in blacklegged deer ticks. It’s common to find ticks and enzootic hosts carrying both Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease) and Babesia. Between 12% and 42% of rodents are co-infected with both agents. It is currently incurable. But it can be managed. Dr. Daniel Cameron has an excellent article on this topic. In 2011, another parasite was discovered called Protomyxzoa Rheumatica FL1953 by Dr. Steven Fry of Fry Labs in Arizona. Guess who tested positive for that too? Today, I am in treatment for both and am having remarkable results. Approximately 90% of all my original symptoms are GONE. I can work again. I can write again. I can think again. I have hope. I have a healthy marriage. I have a joyful life. Am I “cured”? No. I call it remission, similar to cancer. The load of infection within my bloodstream has dramatically decreased in the past few years allowing me for a fuller, richer life. I still have occasional debilitating fatigue and a few other symptoms, but I am definitely on the road to recovery. Share...

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