Is there a difference between European Lyme Disease and North American Lyme Disease
I have been bitten in France, and a friend of mine was bitten in Italy some years back. Both of us were given two weeks treatment of antibiotics. All literature from North America seems to state 4 weeks treatment as the minimum. Can this discrepancy be explained by differences in the virus perhaps? or just differences in medical practices and opinions?
Any one out there have experience with this outside the realm of NA?
Some of our posters here are in the UK, I believe, and might be able to speak to some of your questions.
It's my non-medical understanding that there are many strains of the bacteria that cause Lyme, several hundred in fact, and that the strains in Europe and the US tend to be somewhat different. However, it's my hazy understanding that this is a problem more in diagnostic testing than in treatment, because the tests look for antibodies your body has produced against the Lyme bacteria, and these test parameters might not pick up antibodies produced a different strain of the bacteria.
Because the diagnostic tests for Lyme are imprecise, the diagnosis is supposed to be 'clinical', that is, based on symptoms and history, and assisted (but not controlled by) lab tests, because the lab tests are imprecise.
The bigger problem is treatment, and both in the US and in Europe there appear to be two warring camps: the "two weeks is enough" camp, and the "treat till you're well" camp.
The "two weeks" camp bases its diagnosis on the requirement for a known tickbite and a bullseye rash, so if you have that you might get treated, but for how long? The "till you're well" camp bases its diagnosis on testing at special labs and on history and symptoms.
So the differences go beyond just the various strains of bacteria, and go to the more immediate concern (to patients, at least) of treatment.
To answer your specific question, 'Can this discrepancy [in length of antibiotic treatment] be explained by differences in the [bacteria]?', my answer would be no, it's 'differences in medical practices and opinions' -- but you will find many many US MDs who don't treat for very long either.
*I'm not a trained medical professional, so these comments are not to be relied upon in making treatment decisions for yourself or others.*
There are differences in the strains from Europe vs. the US. I have read that acrodermatiis chronica atrophicans (a complication of lyme) is rare in the US but more common in Europe. As far as treatment goes I don't know as I am not a physician.
I live in the US but was bitten in England in Cornwall in Deer country 20 years ago, after the initial sickness,no rash, but now get rashes all the timeplus all the other symptoms, , I am certain that taking anti bitics through the years sends it into remission but it does reaccur , the Doctors I have seen have been no help at all, the LLMD near here ia a Naturopath doesnt take insurance and the costs are astronomical, as its my health if I cant get it done throughthe regular doc I will pay to get it fixed ..all I can get here is a Lyme Teeter test thats on the order the Doc skeptically gave me. Good luck I hope you do better than I have ..
Hi. Thanks for your response. I am sorry to here about your struggle. Thankfully in France we don't have to worry about medical costs. I am curious, were you treated 20 years ago after you were bitten?
The standard of care announced by one medical organization here, the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA), is that a short course of antibiotics is enough.
We are fortunate however that the government does not (yet) control the standard of care, and there is a different medical organization, the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS), which takes a longer term view of the damage and suffering that Lyme can often bring.
Have you considered treatment outside France? I understand that in the UK one can pay for care outside the National Health. I complain constantly about the medical system in the US, but I am glad to have options. If you need referral to a Lyme-knowledgable MD in the US, you can google 'how to find an LLMD'.
No not immediatly as I hadnt heard about Lyme but I did get abad ear infection along with severe headaches,lethargy so severe I thought I was aneamic and bad palptiations, I went to the Doc dnit mention the tick as it never occurred that there was any connection, he gave me anti biotics for the ear infection, the next year in the US I heard about Lyme was then getting aches and pains , in hips legs and back, period disturbances , things like that so I went for a test it came back negative..on and off throught the years I have been sick and on and off I have had anti biotice but not specically for Lyme.Went 3 weeks ago to a new regualr Doc here he ordered the Lyme aaatiter test and thyroid,TSH, lokked at me like i was nuts, said he thought it was a virus like Epstein Barr, its not, he dint even want to hear all my symtptoms,I went to the Lab to get the blood work done on Friday, the line was so long I am going on Monday afternoon. we shall see.
I'm currently living in the UK, however was bit in the US. My LLMD told me that the American lyme is more arthritic in nature, and the Europe one is more Neuro in nature. I have both joint and neuro issues.
Wow, mine is opposite of yours. I was bitten by what I thought was a "spider" while living in Europe, now back in US. Still undiagnosed, waiting for first appt with LLMD end of August. I have LOTS of neuro symptoms, no arithritis ( knocking on wood as I say that).
Is the treatment for each different??? Best wishes on your treatment!!
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