Health Through Knowledge

The Serano Group

Friday, May 29, 2009


A few quotes from medical journals say a lot about Lyme borreliosis

Science Contradicts the CDC and IDSA on Lyme Disease

The CDC and IDSA advocate underdiagnosis of Lyme borreliosis, ignoring much of the available science. A few quotes, some from guideline authors themselves, show the irrationality of requiring an EM rash or positive antibody tests (ELISA or Western Blots)  for diagnosis.


"The absence of significant antibody titers to B. burgdorferi is not uncommon in Lyme disease, especially in early disease. ...Although it was initially believed that patients with neurologic Lyme disease generally have antibodies to B. burgdorferi, this may not always be the case. ...We would advise that in an endemic area, the differential diagnosis of nonspecific muscle and joint aches without rash should include Lyme disease—even in the absence of antibodies to B. burgdorferi."

  Nadelman RB, Pavia CS, Magnarelli LA, Wormser GP. Isolation of Borrelia burgdorferi from the blood of seven patients with Lyme disease. Am J Med. 1990 Jan;88(1):21-6. PMID: 2294761  (Abstract)


Since coauthoring this paper, Gary Wormser has become a medical politician for the view that Lyme borreliosis is overdiagnosed. He regularly supports the opinion that antibody tests for B. burgdorferi are important, if not required, for diagnosis, contrary to his own research.

Research since 1990 continues to confirm the inadequacy of common Lyme disease tests:


"Lyme borreliosis patients who have live spirochetes in body fluids have low or negative levels of borrelial antibodies in their sera.”

    Tylewska-Wierzbanowska S, Chmielewski T. Limitation of serological testing for Lyme borreliosis: evaluation of ELISA and western blot in comparison with PCR and culture methods. Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2002 Jul 31;114(13-14):601-5. PMID: 12422608 (Abstract)


Similary, research has never established an EM rash as a predominant symptom:


"In our series, only 27% of children with neurologic abnormalities due to LD had a history of EM or arthritis."

  Bingham PM, Galetta SL, Athreya B, Sladky J. Neurologic manifestations in children with Lyme disease. Pediatrics. 1995 Dec;96(6):1053-6. PMID: 7491220 (Abstract)


Why does the CDC endorse EM rash or antibody tests as nearly essential for Lyme disease diagnosis?                    

Posted by Joel Spinhirne
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