What Is Lyme?

What is Lyme disease? Lyme-Borreliosis as a disease was first recognized in the mid-’70s when it massively occurred in the town of Old Lyme in Connecticut, USA.

Lyme is an infectious disease. A bacteria, the spirochaete Borrelia burgdorferi. First described in 1982 by US/Swiss micro-biologist Willy Burgdorfer, transmitted by ticks in most cases. Rarely, mosquitos or horseflies are responsible.

What is Lyme - The Lyme Species

Quite a few species have been identified so far, with the most common types in America. The B. burgdorferi sensu stricto, in Europe the B. b. sensu strictoB. b. afzelii,  B. b. garinii, B. bavariensis. In Australia, according to the Australian Chronic Infectious Disease. Society Limited, B. afzeli, B. garinii, B. valaisiana and b. bavariensis can be found.

Following a bite of an infected tick, the saliva and thus the Borrelia burgdorferi goes into the skin and/or the blood. The organisms are very agile and begin to spread both locally and systemically.

Usually, several days elapse before the first signs of infection. I.e., erythema migrans (EM), other less typical rashes or flu-like symptoms occur. Due to its agility and phenotypic changes the Borrelia can easily penetrate the cells and survive inside the long term. When it goes intracellular, the bacteria become resistant to antibiotics because most antibiotics do not go intracellular.

It builds biofilms and produces biotoxins. The toxins destroy tissues especially nerves & glands.

Chronic Lyme Disease is the most common form of borrelia infection. 30-50 percent of untreated or conventionally treated patients develop a multi-symptom and multisystem disorder. Now that we’ve answered your question, “what is Lyme disease?”, contact St. George Hospital should you suspect you may need treatment.