A proposal for the reliable culture of Borrelia burgdorferi

 Infection. 1998 Nov-Dec; 26,6:364-7.A proposal for the reliable culture of Borrelia
burgdorferi from patients with chronic Lyme disease, even from those previously aggressively 
treated. Phillips SE, Mattman LH, Hulínská D, Moayad H. Greenwich Hospital, CT 06830, USA.
Since culture of Borrelia burgdorferi from patients with chronic Lyme disease has been an 
extraordinarily rare event, clarification of the nature of the illness and proving its etiology as 
infectious have been difficult. A method for reliably and reproducibly culturing B. burgdorferi
from the blood of patients with chronic Lyme disease was therefore sought by making a 
controlled blood culture trial studying 47 patients with chronic Lyme disease. All had relapsed 
after long-term oral and intravenous antibiotics. 23 patients with other chronic illness formed the 
control group. Positive cultures were confirmed by fluorescent antibody immuno-electron 
microscopy using monoclonal antibody directed against Osp A, and Osp A PCR. 43/47 patients, 
91%, cultured positive. 23/23 controls, 100%, cultured negative. Although persist ent infection 
has been, to date, strongly suggested in chronic Lyme disease by positive PCR and antigen 
capture, there are major problems with these tests.This new method for culturing B. 
burgdorferi from patients with chronic Lyme disease certainly defines the nature of the illness 
and establishes that it is of chronic infectious etiology. This discovery should help to reestablish 
the gold standard in laboratory diagnosis of Lyme disease




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