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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » Lyme replication

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Author Topic: Lyme replication
ByronSBell 2007

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I have been searching these forums for a week now and found alot of good info and I have asked alot of questions but one thing I want to know so I can explain to friends and family. I know we seem to herx every 3-5 weeks (28 days avg.) Why is this so? What do you mean in terms of replicate, what are they doing? Why exactly is it that we herx on this pattern?


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The answer is that nobody knows for sure. This pattern of relapse and remitting symptoms is however well known for borelia, the most well recognized one is relapsing fever.

It is pretty clear that it is not the bacteria its self that causes the symptoms but rather the bacteria that gets killed. With relapsong fever, it is common consensus that the bacteria changes it outer proteins on a regular cycle and each time it happens the symptoms appear. this is also known to occur with Lyme.

Here is the kicker .. With relapsing fever, the old opinion was that the symptoms will appear on a regular cycle but diminish over time. This was easy to see with relapsing fever as those infected would get a high fever.. not something easily missed.

Over time the fever would be less severe and shorter duration. It was thougth that as this continued, the infection was diminishing and over time it would eventually would clear up.... That was then..
Now there is increasing evidence that the infection is not really going away, but rather it is fine tuning its self to a form that is not easily detected by the immune system. The result is long term and systematic infection with an organism that cannot be seen by the immune system... in other words chronic infection.. The same is thought to occur with Lyme. This effect is similar to the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria. The the suseptable versions get killed, leaving only the resistent ones to multiply and live more or less in harmony with the host (the patient). As time goes on, the less harmony usually appears to be the dominant theme. This is also why the addition of antibiotics to the process intesifies the symptoms, again on a cyclical basis as now th previously invisible bacteria are getting killed by the antobiotics.

To further suppor this , murine (rodent) studies have shown that antibiotics ARE required to clear a lyme infection. The body cannot clear it on its own. I think this is a univerally aggreed fact, te inly matter of dispute is the duration of antibiotcs that are needed. In this regard, there are many infections that often need long term antibiotics. To name a few brucella, bartonella, whipples disease, leporsy, TB etc. I made a list some time ago but I forget all of them.

Interesting enough, borelia have this ability to change their skin but there is another factor at play here. They also seem to be able to go dormant, Some say in cyctic form , other say intracellular form, some say both. During this phase, the bacteria basically go to sleep and don't do much. When they are "sleeping" they are not affected by the antibiotics as the antibiotics disrupt their duplication process and kills both the parent and offspring in the process.

There are many bacteria that can "sleep" in one form or another. For example, infections related to brucella can also do this as can whipple's disease,leptospira (thought to reside in a protected state in the eye); there are many others. Some of these even show some type of relapse and remit pattern and can be sometimes be confused with Lyme.

What prompts the sleep cycle to end is not clear for Lyme nor the other infections. In refractory cases of infection, the infection sits someplace in the body in hiding and comes out when the conditions are favorable. If this is the case with Lyme and that favorable period is every 4 weeks is not clear. It is known that some cases will flare up and re-appear from long term sleep (many years) after some type of stress on the body occurs, be that an accident, surgery, personal crisis etc.

It is likely a combination of some body rythm (maybe edocrine related) and the life cycle of the bacteria its self, again it is not really known for sure.

In eiather case, the relapse and remit cycles are a pretty clear sign that that there is some type of infections going on (assuming objective symtoms are present during relapse). There are not that many that have cycles that are exact and are so many days apart so this is one of the indicators that lyme MAY be invovled.

I say MAY because there are some other recurrent symptom disesease that have been found to be heredetary. For exampled FRF (familial recurrent fever). What is not clear is if things like FRF are the result of being sensitized to a particular infectious organisim due to genetic disposition with the result that a common pathogen that most of the population carries causes the syptoms. The alternate view is that the genetics some how cause some type of endocrin or inflamitory process to occur.

While the mechnism is not known, it is absolutely known for sure that FRF is a genetic trait, something like the problem that was found with the lymerix vacine.

Before I get flamed on this post, I want people to uinderstand that I beleive the genetic suseptability to some pathogen is the underlying cause, but I of course have no way to prove it, I just think that there are too many indicators that support the concept to rule it out or even put it low on the list.

I realize i have not answered your question very well but I just wanted to fill you in on some of the details of how complicated the whole picture is. There are many simplistic explations around, I don't buy any one of them as the whole picture since the situation is far to complex to give have a simple answer. A simple answer might be a starting point but it is only a starting point and can only be carried so far before it runs into logical an technical problems.

Hope my ramblings help a bit.

Posts: 1184 | From north america | Registered: Feb 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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That was a great posting/explanation.
Up for others.

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Great answer ! Thanks soooo much !

I do not think we know very much actually about this bacteria , and I suspect that there
are wide variations in the varieties or strains .
I personally think that those of us who remain chronic may have some sort of immune system
abnormality that is congenital , or either
a direct result of the presence of lyme.


Posts: 744 | From Mineola | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Northstar, I received meds from Dr. J. he said he could prescribe since he has not treated me since August 06. I am so glad. I have been getting sicker and sicker. I needed treatment months ago. I don't know all the ins and outs of his restrictions but am glad I was able to get meds now before they take them away indefinitely. I am begining to think there are quite a few of us in this area. I just got a PM from a lady in Charlotte. Might be worth while to try a group I don't know. Can't contact you via PM. Something wrong or are you just taking a break. Concerned.



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cave76 - Thanks for the info on Tom Grier's page, excellent resource!!

Here's the actual link.

"You know, the worst, meanest, nastiest, ticks in the world are politicks," - Steve Nostrum

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You won't get flamed by me.

I've thought Lyme could be come "host adapted" and be under the radar (as in NOT dectected) of the immune system's survelliance from observations with my own case of Lyme- (which went undectected for about 25 years - although I was symptomatic with symptoms mimicking many diseases.)

And I also think that this bacteria behaves alot more like a virus- in that after population is reduced (and symptoms subside) a certain percentage remains latent (just like herpes, and chicken pox virus - and now suspect of being latent in the liver is parvoB19)... and can re-emerge when the immune system becomes weakened.

Yah it's complicated.

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what a great thread. Info explained in a way that certainly resonates as valid by my experience.


Posts: 131 | From SE Pa | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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