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A proposal for the reliable culture ofBorrelia burgdorferi from patients with chronic lyme disease, even from those previously aggressively treated

Summary

Since culture ofBorrelia burgdorferi from patients with chronic Lyme disease has been an extraordinarily rare event, clarification of the nature of the illness and proving its etiology as infectious have been difficult. A method for reliably and reproducibly culturingB. burgdorferi from the blood of patients with chronic Lyme disease was therefore sought by making a controlled blood culture trial studying 47 patients with chronic Lyme disease. All had relapsed after long-term oral and intravenous antibiotics. 23 patients with other chronic illness formed the control group. Positive cultures were confirmed by fluorescent antibody immuno-electron microscopy using monoclonal antibody directed against Osp A, and Osp A PCR. 43/47 patients (91%) cultured positive. 23/23 controls (100%) cultured negative. Although persistent infection has been, to date, strongly suggested in chronic Lyme disease by positive PCR and antigen capture, there are major problems with these tests. This new method for culturingsB. burgdorferi from patients with chronic Lyme disease certainly defines the nature of the illness and establishes that it is of chronic infectious etiology. This discovery should help to reestablish the gold standard in laboratory diagnosis of Lyme disease.

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Correspondence to S. E. Phillips M. D..

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Phillips, S.E., Mattman, L.H., Hulínská, D. et al. A proposal for the reliable culture ofBorrelia burgdorferi from patients with chronic lyme disease, even from those previously aggressively treated. Infection 26, 364–367 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02770837

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Keywords

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Lyme Disease
  • Borrelia Burgdorferi
  • Lyme Borreliosis
  • Original Magnification