Quarter of Lyme disease sufferers experience long-term symptoms

Posted: 13th July 2021

One in four patients with Lyme disease will experience persistent, long-term symptoms, new research has found. Even after being successfully treated with antibiotics, 27.2% of Lyme disease patients reported experiencing pain and discomfort in a new study. The study provides more evidence for Lyme disease’s long-lasting damage and the importance of receiving an early diagnosis.  

Despite successful treatment, many Lyme disease patients report persistent symptoms for months or even years. Symptoms can include tiredness, pain and cognitive impairment that can affect the quality of life. Estimates of the long-term impact of Lyme disease and health vary between 0% and 48%, the authors found.

During the study, published in The Lancet Regional Health Europe, adults with a confirmed Lyme disease diagnosis completed a questionnaire every three months. They were asked to record any persistent symptoms, including fatigue, cognitive impairment or pain. The researchers conducted a population-based survey among healthy individuals. 

“Overall prevalence of persistent symptoms in LB patients was 27.2%,” said the authors. “In treated LB (Lyme disease) patients, persistent symptoms were significantly more prevalent, and symptoms were more severe than in individuals without LB.” 

The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 476,000 US citizens every year get Lyme disease, which could mean that almost 120,000 suffer from long-lasting complications. 

The research is the largest of its type ever conducted and was designed to address many of the issues that have affected previous studies. While previous studies have estimated the impact of Lyme disease on health, this study is the first to address it directly. “These findings suggest that Lyme borreliosis may induce persistent symptoms, albeit in a small proportion of patients.”

Among Lyme disease patients, fatigue was the most commonly reported symptom, followed by cognitive impairment and pain. Those with Lyme disease were also likely to feel fatigue and cognitive impairment were more severe than those without the condition.

The authors believe the study will help clinicians in diagnosing the causes of chronic fatigue. “Since many patients seek medical help for their often disabling long-lasting symptoms attributed to LB, these findings are relevant for clinicians confronted with patients with persistent symptoms after treatment for Lyme borreliosis.”

Lyme disease must be diagnosed as early as possible, enabling clinicians to prescribe appropriate antibiotics. Biocentaur’s PrimeSpot test is highly sensitive and can accurately diagnose Lyme disease. It is highly effective for patients when used with our PaldiSpot test, which can detect the presence of Borrelia, Babesia and Bartonella genospecies in a patient’s DNA.

Together, these two tests can provide rapid Lyme disease diagnosis, enabling quick and effective medical treatment and care.

You can learn more about Biocentaur’s range of personalised genetic tests here.

You can read the study, Prevalence of persistent symptoms after treatment for Lyme borreliosis: A prospective observational cohort study, here.

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