Monday, January 25, 2016

A new bacterium now associated with Lyme disease

Clin Microbiol Infect. 2015 Dec 8. pii: S1198-743X(15)00991-X. doi: 10.1016/j.cmi.2015.11.009. [Epub ahead of print]

Isolation of live Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato spirochaetes from patients with undefined disorders and symptoms not typical for Lyme borreliosis.

Author information

  • 1Biology Centre Czech Academy of Sciences, Institute of Parasitology, Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic; Georgia Southern University, The James H. Oliver Jr Institute for Coastal Plain Sciences, Statesboro, GA, USA. Electronic address:
  • 6Georgia Southern University, The James H. Oliver Jr Institute for Coastal Plain Sciences, Statesboro, GA, USA.


Lyme borreliosis is a multisystem disorder with a diverse spectrum of clinical manifestations, caused by spirochaetes of the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato complex. It is an infectious disease that can be successfully cured by antibiotic therapy in the early stages; however, the possibility of the appearance of persistent signs and symptoms of disease following antibiotic treatment is recognized.

 It is known that Lyme borreliosis mimics multiple diseases that were never proven to have a spirochaete aetiology. 

Using complete modified Kelly-Pettenkofer medium we succeeded in cultivating live B. burgdorferi sensu lato spirochaetes from samples taken from people who suffered from undefined disorders, had symptoms not typical for Lyme borreliosis, but who had undergone antibiotic treatment due to a suspicion of having Lyme disease even though they were seronegative. 

We report the first recovery of live B. burgdorferi sensu stricto from residents of southeastern USA and the first successful cultivation of live Borrelia bissettii-like strain from residents of North America. Our results support the fact that B. bissettii is responsible for human Lymeborreliosis worldwide along with B. burgdorferi s.s. The involvement of new spirochaete species in Lyme borreliosis changes the understanding and recognition of clinical manifestations of this disease.

Marina Makous, MD
Assistant Professor
Family Medicine/Psychiatry
Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center
Columbia University, NY

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