Chronic Lyme disease is the fastest growing vector-borne illness in the country, with more cases diagnosed per year than HIV and breast cancer combined. However, because diagnosing Lyme can be difficult, many people who actually have Lyme may be misdiagnosed with other conditions such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, lupus, multiple sclerosis, mixed connective tissue disease, depression, bipolar depression, seizure disorder, ALS, Alzheimer's IBS, and rheumatoid arthritis. Many experts believe the true number of cases is much higher. A hallmark of chronic Lyme disease is an underlying immune dysfunction that not only limits the ability to accurately diagnose Lyme, leaving many such patients misdiagnosed, but also serves as a major reason for lack of treatment response to antibiotics with an inability to eradicate the chronic infection.
The Borrelia bacteria (cause of Lyme disease) transforms from an acute to a chronic infection by transforming the body to a TH2 "extracellular" dominant response and then converting from a free swimming spirochete form in the blood into an intracellular form (L-form) to escape the elevated TH2 immunity. The suppressed and down-regulated TH1 intracellular immune response becomes an ineffective immune response by the body and an effective evasion strategy, which is the hallmark of transformation to late-stage Lyme dissemination. While there are many controversies surrounding the diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease, identification of this immune dysfunction that is consistently found in this illness can greatly aid in the diagnosis of tick-borne illness and to identify the stage and even severity of Lyme disease. The level of immune dysfunction may also be the single most important determinant of treatment success. Thus, appropriate immune modulating therapies that are able to restore normal functioning immunity may be the biggest necessary leap forward in the development of an effective treatment protocol for this multi-system illness.
Description of the multisystem nature and vicious cycle pathology associated with chronic Lyme disease
Description of how immune dysfunction, inflammation, and TH1-TH2 shift are key components in chronic Lyme disease and major causes of treatment failure
Relationship between the multisystem nature and vicious cycles involved with chronic Lyme disease, and CFS, fibromyalgia, and myalgic encephalomyelitis
Effective treatments for chronic Lyme disease