The tick that carries Lyme disease may also transfer other bacteria or parasites to a host, making it possible to get more than one infection from a single tick bite. Because these co-infections may also manifest as a fever or headache initially, they can be difficult to diagnose. These co-infections do not all respond to the treatment for Lyme disease which makes assessment crucial and drug protocols complicated. Among the co-infections carried by Ixodes Scupularis and Ixodes Pacificus are Babesiosis, Ehrlichia, Bartonella, and Mycoplasma.
Babesia is a parasitic infection of the red blood cells and because its symptoms are similar to Lyme disease it is important to have a proper diagnosis. Included among its many symptoms are memory loss and psychiatric illness. It can be life threatening to the elderly and those with weak immune systems. A PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test can detect babesia DNA in the blood. Babesia is usually treated with anti-parasitic drugs.
Ehrlichiosis/Anaplasmosis are two related bacterial parasites that infect white blood cells and both are caused by ticks. Each infects different kinds of white blood cells. One –third of patients develop a rash. Symptoms include sudden high fever, fatigue, muscle ache and headaches. Patients with severe conditions can have low white cell blood counts, kidney failure and respiratory difficulties. The infections can cause severe damage to other organs and the nervous system. If left untreated they can be life threatening. Treatment is usually with the antibiotic doxycycline.
Bartonella are bacteria that live inside cells. Five different Bartonella species have been detected in Ixodes Pacificus. It is difficult to treat because of the variety of symptoms including psychiatric abnormalities. Bartonella can produce a streaked rash. The rash may look like a cluster of little pimples. As well as fever, fatigue and headaches, Bartonella can also cause loss of appetite and swollen glands. Treatment is with specific antibiotics. Testing for Bartonella can be done through a PCR test, blood tests and tissue biopsies. BARTONELLA RASH
Mycoplasma is a slow-growing bacteria that lacks a cell wall, meaning it is unaffected by many common antibiotics. Species of Mycoplasma can cause, among other symptoms, coughing, blurred vision, rashes, gastrointestinal problems, heart failure, breathing irregularities, and memory loss. Mycoplasma is a stealth infection and can move throughout the body and remain undetected for years. The best test is with PCR.
For more information on Co-infections visit: http://www.lymediseaseresource.com/Co-infections