20 things you may be surprised to learn about Lyme Disease*

Lyme Disease and it’s related co-infections are affecting more and more people worldwide, but the misinformation around these infections, especially with healthcare providers, is still endemic.

  1. Lyme is not a new disease. The oldest known case is a man found frozen and mummified in the Alps that was infected by Lyme Borrelia bacteria spirochetes. He lived 5300 years ago!
  2. Hard mature deer ticks (Ixodes ticks) are not the only vector for spreading Lyme disease. Other culprits are tick larvae, tick nymphs, soft ticks, mites, fleas, mosquitoes, biting flies, and tick feces.
  3. The species of bacteria that causes a Lyme infection are Borrelial spirochetes, and the most common in the US being Borrelia burgdorferi. However, Borrelia burgdorferi is not the only species of bacteria that causes Lyme in the US. There are at least 20 different Borrelia species that cause Lyme, and they do not each live in just one geographical area as previously thought.
  4. Coinfections are not rare. In fact, coinfections in all biting arthropods is common, (ticks are arthropods). The most common co-infections are Babesia, Bartonella, Chlamydia, Ehrlichia, Mycoplasma, Rickettsia with still other coinfections becoming more prevalent.
  5. Removal of the tick within 48 or even 24 hours does not prevent the transmission of infection. The truth, transmission time occurs anywhere between 10 minutes and 72 hours, with infection occurring in less than 16 hours being very common, and transmission in less than 24 hours occurring in 83% of the time. A tick that has partially fed and disengaged, only to reattach to a different host, can transmit bacteria in only 10 minutes.
  6. Lyme is not endemic to just the Northeast United States. In fact, every state in the union has Lyme disease, as well as every country on the planet. The days of dismissing “Lyme symptoms” as not being Lyme Disease because you don’t live in the Northeastern US should be over and done with. If you hear this from your doctor, politely leave the office end seek services elsewhere.
  7. The lack of a bull’s-eye rash does not indicate that you do not have Lyme. If the bull’s-eye rash is present after a tick bite, it is almost certain that you do have one of the Borrelial infections, and beginning treatment for Lyme immediately is warranted. However, only approximately 30% of Borrelial transmissions that will cause Lyme will present with the Bull’s-eye rash. The most common indicator is flu-like symptoms after a known bite.
  8. Lyme carrying ticks do not just live in rural areas, they are found in most if not all cities, urban and suburban areas in the country. In one study, every tested songbird carried the Borrelial bacteria, and were thus capable of transmitting disease from one urban area to another.
  9. Test tube grown spirochetes in the laboratory do not respond the same as tick-grown spirochetes in nature, and similarly, needle injected infections behave very differently than tick injected infections. Therefore the results of many of the studies on Lyme do not give results that are consistent with what actually happens in nature.This has lead to incorrect research conclusions and much of the misinformation disseminated by doctors on Lyme disease.
  10. Antibiotics are very effective, but not 100% effective, leaving 3000+ people per year with persistent infections even after antibiotics. Additionally, when the spirochetes are killed, the residue of the bacteria left behind can continue to be pathogenic causing the same symptoms as the active disease.
  11. The Borrelial bacteria spirochetes are parasites that feed on the collagenous tissues in the human body. (Collagen is a major building block of many of our tissues) The spirochetes find abundant collagen in the joints causing Lyme arthritis, collagen in the heart causing Lyme carditis and the collagen in the neural tissues especially brain tissue causing neuroborreliosis.
  12. Because the spirochetes attack our collagen, Stephen Buhner’s Lyme protocol emphasises strengthening and protecting the collagen tissue in the body with gelatin or collagen hydrolysate and using Japanese knotweed herb that counteracts the collagen dissolving chemicals used by the Borrelia bacteria.
  13. Pregnant mothers can (but do not always) transmit Lyme to their unborn child.
  14. Alzheimer’s Disease can be caused by decades long Lyme neuroborreliosis infection, where the borrelial spirochetes have gotten into the brain. In one study spirochetes from several bacteria species were observed in the brain of more than 90% of the Alzheimer’s cases, 13 times more frequent than the control group.
  15. The Borrelia bacteria alter the behavior of the infected tick, so infected ticks are more efficient parasites than uninfected ticks. Infected ticks are more resistant to tick repellent, they move more quickly, climb higher, take on more blood, are much more resistant to freezing and live longer than their uninfected counterparts.
  16. After the tick attaches to the human host, they alternate between feeding on the host’s blood and releasing tick saliva into the host. In the tick saliva are chemicals that degrade the host’s immune response, allowing the bacteria to invade the host with much less resistance from the host’s immune system, thus enhancing the bacteria’s survival.
  17. If the human host’s immune system is already lowered, the chemicals in the tick saliva that impair the host’s natural defences work much better, making for a more severe infection. Strengthening your immune system can allow the body to overcome the tick saliva and even reject the ticks ability to stay attached and feed.
  18. The herb Astragalus helps to boost our immune system and inhibits the chemicals released by the tick that are specifically designed to weaken our defenses. Astragalus is our best defence against Lyme and other tick borne co-infections. The healthiest immune systems will clear the infection with little or no symptoms and give the host a natural immunization to that particular species of bacteria.
  19. Borrelial bacteria are very intelligent and incredibly efficient infection machines. The spirochetes are able to analyze the host’s blood to determine what type of host they are invading (human, deer, mouse, woodchuck etc). The spirochetes alter their structure to avoid that particular host’s immune response, even changing their genetic structure to best avoid the host’s natural defenses.
  20. As the spirochetes alter their genomic structure, they don’t all alter themselves identically, producing similar but antigenically different strains of the same bacteria. This ensures a better chance of some of the bacteria to outsmart the host’s natural defences and find a way to hide themselves deep within the host’s tissue.(Borrelial spirochetes have a tendency to live deeper in tissue than other bacteria)

*The best source for information on Lyme Disease is Healing Lyme by Stephen Buhner available on Amazon. The information given in this article was taken from this source. The best source for the herbs and supplements to prevent and treat Lyme is ExodusHerbs.com. The best source for a doctor who treats Lyme is Mychael Seubert at Naturopathic Wellness Center in Riverhead, NY.