Common Lyme Co-Infections
The most common tick-borne co-infections include babesia (32%), bartonella (28%), ehrlichia (15%), mycoplasma (15%), rickettsia (6%), and anaplasma (5%). Generally, a person with co-infections may experience more severe illness, symptoms, and a longer recovery. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends considering co-infection with babesia or anaplasma when the patient’s symptoms are more severe.
Babesia is a parasite that causes malaria-like disease. It responds like a bacteria, but it’s referred to as a parasite because it cannot survive outside the body. Symptoms can begin with a high fever and chills. As it progresses, fatigue, pain, anemia, headache, muscle aches, and nausea may develop. Successful treatment often includes whole-body hyperthermia, natural anti-malarial treatments like intravenous artesunate (see “Featured Therapy” below), and antibiotics (if needed).
Bartonella is a unique bacteria that can burrow inside cells causing a variety of symptoms. If the immune system is working well, the body can deal with it. However, with a weakened immune system, Lyme disease, severe cold or flu, stressful events, or mold toxicity, bartonella can begin to grow and thrive. This is the bacteria that causes Cat Scratch disease (also known as cat scratch fever). Infection can be caused by a tick, flea, mosquito, sand fly, or a scratch (or bite) from an infected cat (about 40% of cats carry this bacteria).
Although it is a common co-infection of Lyme disease, it can also occur on its own. Symptoms include horrible depression, anxiety, mood swings, tender lymph nodes, low-grade fever, and muscle pain. However, the complete list of symptoms is long and can relate to many neurological and immune system abnormalities. Treatments may include whole-body hyperthermia and specific antibiotics.
Ehrlichia and Anaplasma
Ehrlichia and anaplasma are bacteria that infect white blood cells. Symptoms may include fatigue, fever, headache, and muscle aches. The disease can be mild or life-threatening. In more severe cases, patients may have low white blood cell counts, low platelets, anemia, elevated liver enzymes, kidney problems, and respiratory insufficiency. Treatment includes specific antibiotics.
Rickettsia is the bacteria that causes Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. It is considered the deadliest tick-borne disease in the world. Early symptoms include rash, fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, muscle pain, and lack of appetite. Left untreated, the bacteria can affect blood vessels leading to tissue and organ damage.
Mycoplasma is a bacteria that can cause infections in your respiratory, urinary, and genital tracts. This bacteria is unique because they lack cell walls (some antibiotics attack cell walls to destroy the bacteria), so some antibiotics are ineffective. Mycoplasma pneumoniae is the bacteria that causes pneumonia.
When Lyme co-infections exist, compounding factors include chronic inflammation, immune suppression, and elevated levels of heavy metals and toxins. Since these factors can create a complex pathology of Lyme disease, successful treatment requires multilayered solutions. This includes enhancing immunity, detoxification, and reducing inflammation while attacking the infection from multiple angles.
Sanoviv Offer Treatment for Lyme Co-Infections
At Sanoviv, we test for Lyme disease and several co-infections (see “Featured Lab Test” below) so treatment can be targeted and effective. Treatments are customized to match the specific disease profile of each patient, resulting in high success rates. Unlike many other Lyme treatment programs, we also offer a unique approach to the psychology of the condition after learning from our research team that approximately 70% of our Lyme patients are also suffering from active trauma or a history of trauma (PTSD) that is intensified by the Lyme infection. The Sanoviv psychology department has many tools to help support healing from these emotional traumas and improve treatment outcomes. Every facet of this complex condition needs to be targeted to optimize a successful outcome. For more information about our comprehensive approach to treating Lyme and Co-infections, please contact our admissions department.