“There is always some risk of getting Lyme disease from a tickbite in the woods, but there may be a bigger risk of getting Lyme disease in the bedroom.” says Dr. Raphael Stricker
Well this debate has been going on for a long long time. Is Lyme Disease sexually transmitted? As Lyme patients debate this on all the Lyme forums a study was finally done that strongly points in the direction of “yes.”
This might help the Lyme Advocates cause in getting awareness out there about Lyme Disease. This takes Lyme Disease to a whole new level of seriousness. Of course, Lyme patients have assumed this for years, but the medical community catching up to what we believe is a whole other matter.
Here’s some excerpts from the article, “Lyme Disease May Be Sexually Transmitted, Study Suggests”
“Our findings will change the way Lyme disease is viewed by doctors and patients,” said Marianne Middelveen, lead author of the study presented in Carmel. “It explains why the disease is more common than one would think if only ticks were involved in transmission.”
In the study, researchers tested semen samples and vaginal secretions from three groups of patients: control subjects without evidence of Lyme disease, random subjects who tested positive for Lyme disease, and married heterosexual couples engaging in unprotected sex who tested positive for the disease.
As expected, all of the control subjects tested negative for Borrelia burgdorferi in semen samples or vaginal secretions. In contrast, all women with Lyme disease tested positive for Borrelia burgdorferi in vaginal secretions, while about half of the men with Lyme disease tested positive for the Lyme spirochete in semen samples. Furthermore, one of the heterosexual couples with Lyme disease showed identical strains of the Lyme spirochete in their genital secretions.
“The presence of the Lyme spirochete in genital secretions and identical strains in married couples strongly suggests that sexual transmission of the disease occurs,” said Dr. Mayne.”
Background: Recent reports indicate that more than 300,000 cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed yearly in the USA. Preliminary clinical, epidemiological and immunological studies suggest that infection with the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) could be transferred from person to person via intimate human contact without a tick vector. Detecting viable Borreliaspirochetes in vaginal and seminal secretions would provide evidence to support this hypothesis.
Methods: Patients with and without a history of Lyme disease were selected for the study after informed consent was obtained. Serological testing for Bb was performed on all subjects. Semen or vaginal secretions were inoculated into BSK-H medium and cultured for four weeks. Examination of genital cultures and culture concentrates for the presence of spirochetes was performed using light and darkfield microscopy, and spirochete concentrates were subjected to Dieterle silver staining, anti-Bb immunohistochemical staining, molecular hybridization and PCR analysis for further characterization. Immunohistochemical and molecular testing was performed in three independent laboratories. Positive and negative controls were included in all experiments.
Results: Control subjects who were asymptomatic and seronegative for Bb had no detectable spirochetes in genital secretions by PCR analysis. In contrast, spirochetes were observed in cultures of genital secretions from 11 of 13 subjects diagnosed with Lyme disease, and motile spirochetes were detected in genital culture concentrates from 12 of 13 Lyme disease patients using light and darkfield microscopy. Morphological features of spirochetes were confirmed by Dieterle silver staining and immunohistochemical staining of culture concentrates. Molecular hybridization and PCR testing confirmed that the spirochetes isolated from semen and vaginal secretions were strains of Borrelia, and all cultures were negative for treponemal spirochetes. PCR sequencing of cultured spirochetes from three couples having unprotected sex indicated that two couples had identical strains of Bb sensu stricto in their semen and vaginal secretions, while the third couple had identical strains of B. hermsii detected in their genital secretions.
Conclusions: The culture of viable Borrelia spirochetes in genital secretions suggests that Lyme disease could be transmitted by intimate contact from person to person.