Around 95% of Lyme patients contract other tick-borne diseases (co-infections) because ticks usually transmit multiple pathogens via a single bite. Ticks are sometimes referred to as “nature’s dirty needle”.

Recognised tick-borne illnesses in Australia include Q Fever (Coxiella burnetii), Queensland tick typhus (QTT) (Rickettsia australis), Flinders Island spotted fever (FISF) (Rickettsia honei), and Australian spotted fever (ASF) (Rickettsia sp). These diseases do not have the controversy surrounding them that Lyme and its co-infections do.

The two most common Lyme co-infections are Babesia/Babesiosis and Bartonella/Bartonellosis. Others include Anaplasma, Erlichia, Rickettsia, Mycoplasma, Coxiella, Melioidosis, Tularemia, Mammalian Meat Allergy.

Lyme patients often test positive for further pathogens due to the effect Lyme has on the immune system. It is not uncommon for a Lyme patient to also have Epstein-Barr virus, other herpes-type viruses, Chlamydia pneumonia, Cytomegalovirus, as well as parasites, mould and candida.

Borrelia, Babesia and Bartonella

These three organisms have many overlapping signs and symptoms with Mycoplasma as well, and this adds to the difficulty in treating Lyme. Understanding key characteristics of these more common Lyme disease co-infections can serve as a guide for you and your physician to more accurately tailor your treatment.

Lyme LDAA - Co-infections inset 1
Image courtesy

Copyright Lyme Disease Association of Australia

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