When most people hear about "Lyme Disease" they think of it as one entity. How far from the truth this is! Yet another worldwide complication to Lyme diagnosis and treatment is the lack of education and identification of the HUNDREDS of strains/species of Lyme Disease and other tick-borne infections. There are so many areas I could write about regarding this topic. Brace yourself......I'm feeling multiple posts in the near future ;)
We (as in the general Lyme impacted population) know that Lyme Borreliosis is a blanket term for a multitude of strains that can infect us and cause mass destruction. Think of Lyme Borreliosis being used as a blanket term like "cancer" but the actual type of cancer can vary (there are many, many types). Each type of "cancer" can impact a person differently, attacking different organs. This may account for why Lyme suffers have such varying symptoms; "The Great Imitator" mimicking so many other diseases. Some suffering with joint pain, migraines, light-sensitivity, word retrieval, short term memory loss, while others are experiencing disassociation, tinnitus, meningitis/encephalitis. I won't sit here and go on and on about symptoms because there is finally enough out there to learn that with a simple google search. My aim is to talk about the "untalked about/unknown" and get people talking.
When Borrelia Burgdorferi, a bacteria causing Lyme, was "originally" described to the public, it was believed to be the only "species/strain" responsible. In recent years, there are a multitude of "species" and "strains" being identified (but lets be honest, not talked about).
I've searched hundreds of websites......read hundreds of research articles and I was unable to find even one resource which identified more then 13. There is estimated to be 300+. This is my attempt to add all documented strains in one location (please email or comment if you know of others so this list can begin to grow and become a more thorough resource!).
Please bare in mind when reading this that:
- I have only included the countries in which I was able to find documented cases. We all know with global travel that its likely these strains are much more far spread. I mean, Australia has had multiple televised deaths from Lyme Disease and yet the government is only now starting to "accept" that Lyme might be there (All I can say to this type of ignorance is "seriously"!!!).
- If there is a year in parenthesis, I was able to find a date from the source (mainly research articles) when these strains were documented. You will notice that many show 1980 as that was when the government began informing the public of this disease and allowing papers to be published.
-Many of these dates are referenced from "The Catalogue Of Life". The Catalogue of Life Partnership (CoLP) is an informal partnership dedicated to creating an index of the world’s organisms, called the Catalogue of Life (CoL).
Current Documented Lyme Disease Strains:
1) Borrelia Afzelii - also found in Europe and associated with neurological symptoms; associated with rodents (1994).
2)Borrelia Americana - Found in North America
3) Borrelia Andersonii - Found in North America
4) Borrelia Anserina - (1891, 1925, 1980)
5) Borrelia Baltazardii - (1979, 1983, 2000)
6) Borrelia Bavariensis- Found in Europe
7) Borrelia Bissettii - Found in North America, Asia, Europe; Recently found in Czech Republic
8) Borrelia Brasiliensis - (1952, 1980)
9) Borrelia Californiensis - Found in North America
10) Borrelia Carolinensis - Found in North America
11) Borrelia Caucasica - (1945, 1957, 1980)
12) Borrelia Coriaceae - (1987)
13) Borrelia Crociduraw (1917, 1957, 1980)
14) Borrelia Dugesii - (1949, 1957, 1980)
15) Borrelia Duncani
16) Borrelia Duttonii - (1906, 1926, 1980)
17) Borrelia Garini - often found in Europe and associated with neurological symptoms (back and leg pain, meningitis, facial nerve paralysis / Bell's Palsy; it has also been associated with birds and rodents (1992).
18) Borrelia Graingeri - (1953, 1957, 1980)
19) Borrelia Harveyi - (1947, 1948, 1980)
20) Borrelia Hermsii - (1942, 1946, 1980)
21) Borrelia Hispanica - (1926, 1946, 1980)
22) Borrelia Japonica - Found in Japan (1994)
23) Borrelia Kurtenbachii - Found in North America
24) Borrelia Latyschewii - (1941, 1948, 1980)
25) Borrelia Lusitaniae - Found in Europe especially Portugal, North Africa and Asia (1997)
26) Borrelia Mazzottii - (1995)
27) Borrelia Microti - connections to relapsing fever in Iran (2000)
28) Borrelia Miyamotoi - Found in Japan; related to relapsing fever (1995)
29) Borrelia Parkeri - (1942, 1946, 1980)
30) Borrelia Persica - (1913, 1946, 1980)
31) Borrelia Recurrentis - (1847, 1925, 1980)
32) Borrelia Sinica - Found in China (2001)
33) Borrelia Spielmanii - Found in Europe (2006)
34) Borrelia Tanukii - Found in Japan (1997)
35) Borrelia Theileri - (1903, 1925, 1980)
36) Borrelia Tillae (1961, 1980)
37) Borrelia Turcica - (2004)
38) Borrelia Turdae/Turdi - Found in Japan (1997)
39) Borrelia Turicatae - (1933, 1946, 1980)
40) Borrelia Valaisiana - found in Greece and throughout Europe; also identified in Asia (1997)
41) Borrelia Venezuelensis - Found in South America (1921, 1922, 1980)
42) Borrelia Yangtze - Found in Asia
Another, related species, is known as Borrelia Lonestar. This is caused and follows the bite from a Lone Star Tick and symptoms strongly resemble Lyme Disease. Personally, I think it all falls under the same umbrella! There are no diagnostic tests for this infection and no official treatment protocol, although antibiotics have been found beneficial.
Then you also must bare in mind that there are also tick-borne co-infections (please see my earlier post on them). So with the above information in mind, and now being informed that there are known to be over 300 strains of Lyme, how do you feel about the accuracy of testing ~ Western Blot tests for 2 "species/strains"??? Food for thought ;)
Again, thanks for taking the time to read this and educating yourself. Please email or comment with any additions that can be added to this list :)