Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Lyme bacteria survive 28-day course of antibiotics months after infection.Lyme bacteria can survive a 28-day course of antibiotic treatment four months following infection by tick bite, according to a new study using a primate model for the disease. Despite testing negative for Lyme disease, some subjects were infected with Lyme bacteria in heart, brain and other organs. Based on a single, extensive study of Lyme disease designed by Tulane University researchers, the study employed multiple methods to evaluate the presence of Borrelia burgdorferi spirochetes, the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, before and after antibiotic treatment in primates. The study also measured the antibody immune response to the bacteria both pre- and post- treatment, as this is how current diagnostics typically evaluate Lyme disease in humans. The data show that living B. burgdorferi spirochetes were found in ticks that fed upon the primates and in multiple organs after treatment with 28 days of oral doxycycline. The results also indicated that the immune response to the bacteria varied widely in both treated and untreated subjects. "It is apparent from these data that B. burgdorferi bacteria, which have had time to adapt to their host, have the ability to escape immune recognition,tolerate the antibiotic doxycycline and invade vital organs such as the brain and heart," said lead author Monica Embers, PhD, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at Tulane University School of Medicine.