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The Debate About Lyme Disease Goes On... And On... And On


By Martha M Grout, MD, MD(H)

Balance Point Capital Partners announce their investment in IGeneX - the CLIA certified laboratory which most Lyme literate doctors use for their testing of patients in whom they suspect Lyme disease. On the same day, the Australian city of Sydney hosts a debate between Lyme disease sufferers and the experts, the subject being whether Lyme disease exists in Syndey. The Royal College of Pathologists has declared what one infectious disease specialist declared to a colleague of mind in Scottsdale, AZ - "There is no Lyme disease in Australia/Arizona". A paper just published on PLoS|ONE reports that persistence of symptoms in Lyme disease (at least in Europe) is associated with higher numbers of spirochetes found on culture of biopsies from the bull's eye rash.

Of course, the species most commonly found in Europe is Borrelia afzelii, which is not part of the antibody testing performed in the United States. Sot it's no wonder than standard labs often do not report a positive Western Blot for patients who are clearly ill and who improve on treatment for Lyme disease.

Borrelia bacteria in the bloodThe IGeneX lab has more species of Lyme in their antigen mix, and they also report borderline positive tests as "indeterminate" - so the chances of picking up a positive test are higher when the blood sample is sent to that lab, rather than to a more conventional lab. The moral of the story is... if you are ill, and there has been any possibility of exposure to Lyme disease - any exposure to ticks at all - you are well advised to keep searching for (a) a test which can diagnose your illness and (b) a physician who believes your symptoms and is willing to treat.

The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society maintains a list of "Lyme-literate" physicians which is available upon request to anyone who inquires.

For more information about Lyme disease and its treatment, click here.