Lyme disease: the next decade
Raphael B Stricker, Lorraine Johnson
International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, Bethesda, MD, USA
Abstract: Although Lyme disease remains a controversial illness, recent events have created an unprecedented opportunity to make progress against this serious tick-borne infection. Evidence presented during the legally mandated review of the restrictive Lyme guidelines of the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) has confirmed the potential for persistent infection with the Lyme spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, as well as the complicating role of tick-borne coinfections such as Babesia, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia, and Bartonella species associated with failure of short-course antibiotic therapy. Furthermore, renewed interest in the role of cell wall-deficient (CWD) forms in chronic bacterial infection and progress in understanding the molecular mechanisms of biofilms has focused attention on these processes in chronic Lyme disease. Recognition of the importance of CWD forms and biofilms in persistent B. burgdorferi infection should stimulate pharmaceutical research into new antimicrobial agents that target these mechanisms of chronic infection with the Lyme spirochete. Concurrent clinical implementation of proteomic screening offers a chance to correct significant deficiencies in Lyme testing. Advances in these areas have the potential to revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease in the coming decade.
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