What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme Disease is the informal name for collection infections most commonly associated the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. They appear like microscopic worms in the shape of a cork-screws called spirochetes. It is this shape that allows them to screw their way through various tissues.
Borellia bacteria are parasites. They cannot make any of the nutrients they require to survive so they scavenge nutrients from their hosts. They eat away at the collagen and collagen-like structures.
There are 52 known Borrelia species throughout the world and 21 of them are known to cause Lyme Disease.
How common is Lyme Disease?
There are 300,000 – 450,000 new cases reported in the United States each year, and over 2000 in Canada.
These are conservative numbers since misdiagnosis is common and several testing methods are unreliable.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of Lyme Disease depend entirely on where in the body the bacteria are attacking. For this reason, Lyme disease is known as the great imitator.
In some cases after the initial tick bite there appears the lyme disease rash, often a bulls-eye shape. As the bacteria spread out in the body Borreliosis can manifest as numerous other diseases and is therefore often misdiagnosed. If the spirochetes are focusing their attack on the joints then disease may manifest as rheumatoid arthritis for example.
When they get past the blood-brain barrier, depending on where inside the brain they attack, the symptoms may manifest as Alzheimers’, Parkinsons’, Lupus, Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia and more. There can be numerous skin, organ, muscular, joint, tendon, ocular, cognitive, and neurological symptoms.
Where does Lyme Disease Occur?
Lyme disease occurs all over the world. In North America, Borreliosis has traditionally spread East and West from ticks on herd animals and spread North and South from ticks on migrating birds. Rodents are often local reservoirs of the disease.
Ticks usually live in the woody or grassy areas, however they can be found in city parks as well.
How long has Borrelia existed?
Lyme bacteria have been around for eons. Researchers have discovered 5300 year old Otzi the iceman from the Tyrolean Alps was infected.
Despite being an ancient disease, Lymes has been rapidly emerging since the late 1960s. There is reason to believe this is due to the weaponization of ticks in the US military’s biological warfare program gone awry, as revealed in the book Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Warfare.
Borrelia burgdorferi was named after scientist William Burgdorfer, who was deeply involved in the biological warfare program in Fort Detrick, Maryland.
How is Lyme Disease transmitted?
Lyme disease is spread in multiple ways. It is most often spread through the bite of infected ticks, but the vectors can also include mites, fleas, spiders, and mosquitoes. Borrelia is related to Syphilis and there is evidence to suggest it can be transmitted sexually. They can also be transmitted through saliva and the placenta.
One of the first places the bacteria travel is to the bladder. Once there, they alter their form into a protective “round body” to be urinated out onto the grass and foliage to potentially be consumed by grazing animals.
Why is Lyme disease so difficult to treat?
Lyme disease is difficult to treat for multiple reasons. The bacteria are extremely intelligent, fast, stealthy, resourceful, adaptable and collaborative with other pathogens. They have methods for outwitting and depressing the immune system as well as withstanding conventional antibiotic treatment. The bacteria can also hide in biofilm, a thick slime they create and inhabit with other pathogens that the immune system cannot penetrate, however herbs will break it down.
It is also difficult to treat due to Herxing.
What is a Jarisch-Herxhemier reaction?
A Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction, or Herxing, is the reaction that can occur during mass die-off pathogenic bacteria.
In the case of Lyme disease, the spirochete bodies fragment, releasing their toxins. This can cause symptoms such as fever, headaches, chills, muscle pain, and other symptoms.
How does Borrelia transfer to the new host?
When the tick bites a new victim, the change in temperature and pH awakens the bacteria hibernating within. They analyze the new blood coming in and then alter up to 154 of their genes to best ensure survival in their new host. Borrelia reconfigure their outer protein structure and can bind multiple types of cells to their outer membrane as camouflage to temporarily avoid detection. In addition, the spirochetes can travel twice as fast as the fastest white blood cells hunting them, the neutrophils.
The Borrelia enter the new host in swarms. Each swarm will alter into a different strain to help avoid detection and confuse the immune system.
Upon entry, many spirochetes immediately assume atypical encysted forms. These are number of protective “round body” configurations called L-forms that the bacteria can take when they sense the environment is too hostile. Antibiotic treatment can provoke this transformation. In these tightly packed hardened forms, they are much more impervious to attack and will wait out the assault in dormancy until they detect it’s safe to resume their spirochete form.
How long does it take to transmit Lyme Disease?
Contrary to popular belief, it does not take 24 hours for tick to transmit Lyme disease. Although this is common for the hard tick variety, it can happen in as little as 10 minutes with some species. It often depends on whether the tick is partially fed.
How does Borrelia attack the new host?
The bacteria target the tightly packed endothelial cells that line the blood vessels because beyond them, they will be safer from immune cells. This is often their priority. They crawl along the endothelial cells until they find a juncture they have targeted to pass through.
To help it get between the tightly packed cells, the Borrelia will exploit the immune system for its own purposes. They intentionally stimulate the release of cytokines. These are proteins that signal the immune cells to come to their location to fight the infection. By initiating a cascade of cytokines, an excess amount of immune cells cause an overreaction and the ensuing inflammation loosens the junction so the spirochetes can pass through to safety. The bacteria also incite cytokine cascades to cause inflammation that helps break down tissues they want to feed on.
What is Relapsing Fever Borreliosis?
Relapsing Fever (RF) Borreliosis is a type of Lyme disease that causes severe recurring flu and fatigue symptoms similar to malaria and babesia. This is because the borrelia flood the blood stream with spirochetes ever few days on regular intervals.
The new spirochetes have a reconfigured surface protein arrangement, different from the parent. In this way, they stay one step ahead of the immune cells which are still searching for the previous configuration.
The L-form encysted bacteria are also able to reproduce to a certain extent. They can push out tiny pieces of themselves in the shape of granules , called blebs, that contain their DNA. When the environmental conditions are less adverse the blebs are able to grow into spirochetes.