Lyme disease round-up

Posted: 21st July 2021

At Biocentaur, we stay at the cutting edge of new development in diagnosing and treating Lyme disease. Our range of genetic tests is helping patients receive a fast and accurate diagnosis, enabling treatment to begin as soon as possible. 

You can learn more about our range of Lyme disease tests here.

Here are five Lyme disease stories that have caught the eye of the Biocentaur team this month.

Up to 20% of patients develop chronic symptoms after Lyme disease treatment

A new study has found that between 10–20% of patients diagnosed with Lyme disease will develop chronic symptoms after treatment with antibiotics.

Researchers in Rhode Island found evidence that persistent symptoms, known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS), can affect almost a quarter of all patients.

Women were more likely than men to experience pain, it was revealed. “While many patients recover from acute Lyme infection after antibiotic treatment, there is a sizeable group of patients who continue to experience symptoms including fatigue, pain, and cognitive disruptions for months or years after initial treatment,” say the authors.

The study highlights the importance of early diagnosis and treatment and the long-term risks facing patients.

You can read the full paper, Characterizing the Symptoms of Patients with Persistent Post-Treatment Lyme Symptoms: A Survey of Patients at a Lyme Disease Clinic in Rhode Island, here.

ECG as a screening test for Lyme Disease

Electrocardiogram (ECG) is an established test to check a patient’s heart rhythm and electrical activity, but it also shows promising signs as a Lyme Disease biomarker.

In a new study, researchers studied the medical records of children who had undergone emergency department evaluation for Lyme disease and had an ECG. During the investigation, an expert cardiologist assessed all ECGs flagged as abnormal to identify evidence of heart inflammation (carditis) and a condition known as AV block. 

Analysis established a direct correlation between those with heart problems identifiable with an ECG and Lyme diseases. 

So, what does this mean? “ECG evidence of carditis can be used as a diagnostic biomarker for Lyme disease to guide initial management while awaiting Lyme disease test results,” say the authors.

You can read the full paper, Electrocardiogram as a Lyme Disease Screening Test, here.

Treating Lyme disease with ceftriaxone

Lyme disease is typically treated with the antibiotic doxycycline, but this fascinating case study describes how one 58-year-old male patient benefited from treatment with an alternative antibiotic, ceftriaxone. 

After initial treatment with doxycycline failed to work, the patient received four weeks of treatment with ceftriaxone. The authors conclude that “(intravenous) ceftriaxone is entirely appropriate and warranted due to better outcomes.” 

You can read the full study, Management of Chronic Symptoms of Lyme Disease With Intravenous Ceftriaxone, here.

Lyme disease established in North India

While Lyme disease is an established risk in Europe and the USA, little is known about its spread in India. A new paper finds that far from being uncommon, Lyme disease is endemic in India.

The research highlights the “importance for travel medicine practitioners and physicians to evaluate for Lyme disease in patients with compatible symptoms and a history of travel to tick risk areas,” say the authors. 

You can read the full paper, Clinical and laboratory evidence of Lyme disease in North India, 2016–2019, here.

Lyme disease ticks double in Canada 

Climate change has caused the number of Lyme disease ticks in some Canadian provinces to double in the last 20 years, research has found. 

Serge Olivier Kotchi of the Public Health Agency of Canada has studied how climate change affects the incidence of vector-borne diseases in Canada. Using advanced analytical techniques, Olivier and his team found that increasingly warm weather caused by climate change leads to an increase in the spread of ticks responsible for Lyme disease infection.

The findings suggest that climate change accelerates the spread of ticks carrying the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria that causes Lyme disease in Canada. The findings may explain the growth in new Lyme disease cases in Canada and the rest of the world.

You can read the full paper, Earth Observation-Informed Risk Maps of the Lyme Disease Vector Ixodes scapularis in Central and Eastern Canada, here.

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