What is Lyme?

 

Lyme Borreliosis, or Lyme Disease, is a tick borne infection caused by a bacteria called Borrelia. There are at least three known species of Borrelia that cause Lyme and so the presentation of the disease can be variable - one species is known to predominantly cause arthritis, another neurological manifestations; one species will cause a bullseye rash upon infection, another usually does not. All three pathogenic species are found in ticks across Europe (including the UK) and the US and there is new evidence that Lyme may also be sexually transmitted.

Shortly after infection, Lyme can present like a flu and is easy to treat with a short course of antibiotics. If the warning signs are missed, as time passes the bacteria can disseminate around the body causing many varied symptoms, ranging from fatigue, pain and cognitive impairment to meningitis and heart block. At this stage there is a lot of debate about the effectiveness of tests and treatment.

NHS guidelines are based on the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) guidelines, which are largely based on cherry-picked and outdated science, due to political pressures and conflicts of interest. Many private doctors around the world who have specialised in treating Lyme Disease do not follow these guidelines, but instead subscribe to those by the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS)  or the Deutsche Borreliose-Gesellschaft.