Chronic Lyme disease may be a misdiagnosis of chronic fatigue syndrome


A tick chew may cause treatable Lyme disease, whereas long-term signs may be as a consequence of chronic fatigue syndrome

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Most individuals who suppose they’ve a long-lasting type of Lyme disease, triggered by a tick chew, may actually have chronic fatigue syndrome, a panel of UK infectious disease consultants stated at present.

Some individuals who mistakenly imagine they’ve Lyme disease are endangering their well being by taking lengthy programs of antibiotics, resulting in different infections comparable to sepsis, the docs warned.

Lyme disease is a probably critical an infection that first got here to consideration within the 1970s, after an outbreak of instances in New England. It is attributable to micro organism, handed on by bites from ticks, and sometimes triggers a round pink rash initially.


Untreated Lyme disease can result in a vary of well being issues, together with joint ache, and coronary heart injury. But if identified in time, the an infection can be quashed with a quick course of antibiotics.

However, some individuals who have persistent signs imagine they’ve a long-term an infection, referred to as chronic Lyme disease, which wants treating with lengthy programs of antibiotics or different different therapies comparable to dietary supplements. This thought has unfold from the US to the UK and another international locations.

Matt Dryden of Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust stated at a press convention that there was a giant overlap between the signs normally ascribed to chronic Lyme and people of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) – comparable to fatigue, ache and reminiscence issues. “Most have CFS,” stated Dryden. “What clinches it for me is that there’s a great group of these patients in Australia where [Lyme disease bacteria] have never been detected.”

CFS, additionally generally referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis, is itself a controversial situation: some suppose it entails immune system issues, maybe triggered by an an infection, whereas others imagine psychological components may contribute.

“I think most people who think they have chronic Lyme disease in the UK probably don’t,” stated Sarah Logan of the Hospital for Tropical Diseases in London. “There’s so much stigma associated with chronic fatigue. Our treatments and support network [for CFS] are not great.” Logan says she sees a minimum of two individuals a week in her clinic who’ve self-diagnosed themselves with chronic Lyme disease within the UK.

Part of the issue is that checks for Lyme disease aren’t definitive, stated Tim Brooks of Public Health England. One generally used take a look at checks for antibodies to the micro organism made by the physique, however these may not develop till six weeks after publicity, so individuals can take a look at unfavorable within the early stage of an infection.

And some personal laboratories within the US and Europe supply unvalidated checks for Lyme disease which are probably to provide false constructive outcomes, stated Brooks. He is aware of of individuals attempting to boost many hundreds of kilos for therapy in different international locations.

Dryden and Logan have each identified individuals on long-term antibiotic therapy for chronic Lyme disease who’ve developed infections with antibiotic-resistant micro organism. There have additionally been a number of instances of extreme infections attributable to individuals having antibiotics delivered into a vein of their chest, in an try and constantly deal with their disease.

Lyme disease can often trigger long-lasting signs, says Dryden, however that is uncommon. In one research of about 500 individuals with confirmed Lyme disease, solely three reported some fatigue or muscle ache after therapy with antibiotics.

However Julia Knight of the affected person assist group Lyme Disease UK says a larger drawback is that some household docs nonetheless don’t imagine there may be any Lyme disease on this nation, long-term or not. “They are quick to label people with CFS. It could be that people with chronic Lyme are going misdiagnosed with CFS,” she says.

Many international locations at the moment are reporting extra instances of Lyme disease, maybe as a result of of local weather change. In the UK, the disease is especially present in southern England and elements of Scotland and the charges have risen in recent times.

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