Dr. Gregory Bach, Do.O., P.C. 2415 North Broad Street, Colmar, PA 18915


Lyme disease, being a spirochete with pathology similar to syphilis, is often found difficult to treat due to the spirochete invading sanctuary sites and displaying pleomorphic characteristics such as a cyst (L-form). Because a significant portion of sexually active couples present to my office with Lyme disease, with only one partner having a history of tick exposure, the question of possible secondary (sexual)vector of transmission for the spirochete warrents inquiriy.
Additionally, sexually active couples seem to have a marked propensity for antibiotic failure raising the question of sexually active couples re-infecting themselves through intimate contact.


Lyme spirochetes/DNA have been recovered from stored animal semen. Recovery of spirochete DNA from nursing mother’s breast milk and unbilical cord blood by PCR (confirmed by culture/microscopy), have been found in samples provided to my office.


Suprisingly, initial laboratory testing of semen samples provided by male Lyme patients (positive by western blot/PCR in blood) and the male sexual partner of a Lyme infected female patient were positive approximately 40% of the time. PCR recovery of Lyme DNA nucleotide sequences with microscopic confirmation of semen samples yielded positive results in 14/32 Lyme patients (13 male semen samples and 1 vaginal pap).
ALL positive semen/vaginal samples in patients with known sexual partners resulted in positive Lyme titers/PCR in their sexual partners. 3/4 positive semen patients had no or unknown sexual partners to be tested. These preliminary findings warrent futher study. Current a statistical design study to evaluate the possibility of sexual transition of the spirochete is being undertaken.
Our laboratory studies confirm the existence of Lyme spirochetes in semen/vaginal secretions. Whether or not further clinical studies with a larger statistical group will support the hypothesis of sexual transmission remains to be seen. A retrospective clinical study is also underway.
We are reviewing the medical records, collecting semen samples of patients who were previously diagnosed with current and previously treated Lyme disease are bing asked to provide semen,pap and blood samples for extensive laboratory testing.


With the initially impressive data, we feel the subsequent statistical sudy on the sexual transmission of the Lyme spirochete will illuminate a much broader sectrum of public health concerns associated with the disease than the originally accepted tick borne vector.


Relative infectivity of Borrelia burgdorferi in Lewis rats by various routes of inoculation.

K D Moody; S W Barthold (Profiled Author: Stephen Barthold)

Section of Comparative Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.
The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 1991;44(2):135-9.


Various routes of Borrelia burgdorferi infection were studied in laboratory rats. Three-week-old Lewis rats were inoculated either intradermally (i.d.), intraperitoneally (i.p.), or oronasally (o.n.) with serial 10-fold dilutions of B. burgdorferi. Thirty days later, groups of rats were killed and serology, splenic culture, and histology were used to evaluate infection. Rats were successfully infected i.d. with 10(2-4) organisms or i.p. with 10(4-5) organisms. Neither three-day-old nor three-week-old rats were successfully infected o.n. with up to 10(6) organisms. For contact transmission, three-day-old or three-week-old inoculated rats were housed with unexposed littermates for 30 days. Inoculated rats became infected but contact rats remained free of infection. To study in utero transmission, five pregnant female Lewis rats were inoculated i.p. with 10(6) spirochetes at four days gestation. Although adult females seroconverted or had positive splenic cultures at 20 days gestation, the placentas and fetuses were uniformly culture-negative. Venereal transmission from seven infected females or six infected males to uninfected rats of the opposite sex was not demonstrated.



Investigation of venereal, transplacental, and contact transmission of the Lyme disease spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, in Syrian hamsters.


Institute of Arthropodology and Parasitology, Department of Biology, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro 30460, USA.


A hamster was inoculated with the SI-1 strain of Borrelia burgdorferi and subsequently served as a host to larval Ixodes scapularis Say. Approximately 68% of the nymphs resulting from the fed larvae were infected. Nymphs from this group were fed on uninfected hamsters, and 3 of 4 males and 6 of 6 females became infected. The infected hamsters were allowed to mate with uninfected partners to test for venereal transmission. Six infected females were mated with 6 uninfected males, whereas 3 infected males were mated with 6 uninfected females. None of the uninfected hamsters became infected after mating. Two protocols were used to determine if transplacental transmission of B. burgdorferi occurred. One group included 6 nonpregnant infected females that were subsequently mated and became pregnant. Three of the females were allowed to carry to full term, whereas the other 3 were killed prior to parturition. All fetuses and offspring were negative for B. burgdorferi based on cultures and monoclonal antibody assays. Another group of 6 females was infected via tick bite after becoming pregnant; those females were allowed to carry fetuses to birth and all were negative. Attempts at contact transmission of B. burgdorferi from 2 infected females to 2 uninfected male and 2 uninfected female hamsters and from 2 infected males to 2 uninfected male and uninfected female hamsters via urine or feces failed.


A most unusual case of a whole family suffering from late Lyme borreliosis for over 20 years


‘Lyme disease’: ancient engine of an unrecognized borreliosis pandemic?


Other Articles you May be Interested in

Culture and identification of Borrelia spirochetes in human vaginal and seminal secretions

Expanded Study Confirms that Lyme Disease May Be Sexually Transmitted

Lyme Disease: Sexually Transmitted? 

Recovery of Spirochetes in Semen

The Causes of Lyme Disease

Monogamous? This STI Won’t Care

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