Lyme disease has proven to be one of the most difficult diseases for people to overcome it, as the illness appears to be extended in some patients, even after taking the right treatment. A new study has revealed that long-term intake of antibiotics could make the patients’ health even worse, as it was proven that many volunteers in the study developed side effects.

And apparently those side effects were not something to be taken lightly, as many patients had to be taken to the hospital for respiratory distress among other symptoms. According to the research paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine earlier this week, the study found no differences between all three-treatment groups involved in the study.

Lyme disease
Lyme disease has proven to be one of the most difficult diseases for people to overcome it. Photo credit: Macleans

Now researchers are baffled as there’s no indicator of the disease being a chronic condition or not. This means that people with Lyme disease could require consistent treatment throughout weeks or even months. While the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) describe Lyme disease as an illness that requires long-term treatment for an indefinite amount of time, others claim the opposite.

It’s rival competitor Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) claims the disease needs only 2 to 4 weeks of treatment in order for the patient to fully recover. Yet, the study from the Netherlands suggests that treatment, long or short, brings serious adverse effects from taking antibiotics.

The bacteria known as Borrelia burgdorferi is credited to cause Lyme disease, which is transmitted through the bite of the black-legged deer tick, according to the Center for Disease Control. Working with the Mayo Clinic and health official from Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Dakota, researchers discovered the new bacteria called Borrelia mayonii, the CDC said in a statement.

Getting to know Lyme disease

Lyme disease symptoms can cause fever, headache, and rash and neck pain within days of infection, and within weeks, it can cause arthritis as well as nausea, vomiting, diffuse rashes and a higher concentration of bacteria in the blood. Although several types of bacteria are known to cause the disease across the globe, the Borrelia burgdorferi is the only one known to infect humans in North America until now.

According to the Center for Disease Control, more than 300,000 cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed over the course of a year. Still, the current tests and treatments are effective against the new form of the disease, reported the CDC in a press release. Although, thanks to the study led by the Persistent Lyme Empiric Antibiotic Study Europe (PLEASE) confirmed the treatment often took a toll on its patients.

The Borrelia mayonii species was discovered after scientist studied blood samples from patients in three different states, each that were suspected of having Lyme disease in the past. These blood samples from six out of 9,000 patients showed unusual results.

The new bacterium imitates the Borrelia burgdorferi symptoms as the infection starts to develop, yet the new bacteria trigger more severe symptoms later on. Researchers can only account the new bacteria in the upper Midwest region of the United States so far. The study led by the Netherlands could help researchers to further test the Lyme disease’ treatment in order to develop a successful treatment that doesn’t jeopardize patients’ health.

Source: Forbes