Common co-infections of Lyme disease

Disease masked by co-infections

Severe symptoms are not only caused by the borrelia bacteria: other bacteria and viruses behind the co-infections of Lyme disease can also trigger a range of unpleasant symptoms, masking the clarity of the clinical picture and complicating rapid recovery or, in the worst case scenario, preventing it. The potential co-infections of Lyme disease and their consequences should never be underestimated.

Risk of multiple infection syndrome

In most cases, Lyme disease does not appear alone but in accompanied by one or more so-called "co-infections".
These infections are either transmitted together with the borrelia bacteria, directly through the tick bite or the patient is infected at a later date, as a result of the contracted Lyme disease and a weakened immune system. When an infection has several different causes, we speak of Multiple Systemic Infectious Disease.
These co-infections of Lyme disease can be caused either by bacteria or viruses.

The most common co-infections accompanying Lyme disease are:

Bartonella

Potential symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle tremors
  • Muscle cramps
  • Shivering
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Impaired ability to concentrate; attention deficit

Mycoplasma

Potential symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Joint pain
  • Join swelling
  • Muscle pain
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety

Epstein-Barr-Virus

Potential symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Exhaustion
  • Weakness
  • Fever (high temperature)
  • Swollen lymph nodes (primarily in the neck area)
  • Headaches
  • Aches and pains in limbs

Chlamydia pneumonae

Potential symptoms:

  • Slight sore throat
  • Hoarseness
  • Acute or chronic inflammation of the sinuses
  • Atypical pneumonia
  • Meningitis

Ehrlichia / Anaplasma

Potential symptoms:

  • Flu-like symptoms with fever
  • Muscle pain and headaches, often of a “piercing, behind the eyes” type
  • Neurological complaints

Babesia

Potential symptoms:

  • Sweating
  • Stiff neck
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue

Rickettsia

Potential symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Inflammation of the lymph nodes

These are only the most common co-infections of Lyme disease. Patients often suffer from up to 10 different causes at the same time. This explains the challenge faced by doctors when choosing the right therapy and the often very long duration of therapies with changes of treatment.