NEWS: Recent study suggests that Lyme disease can be sexually transmitted

25th January 2014

spirochete image

Notes one researcher: "There is always some risk of getting Lyme disease from a tick bite in the woods. But there may be a bigger risk of getting Lyme disease in the bedroom.”

Press release, January 25, 2014:

Carmel, CA – A new study suggests that Lyme disease may be sexually transmitted. The study was presented at the annual Western Regional Meeting of the American Federation for Medical Research, and an abstract of the research was published in the January issue of the Journal of Investigative Medicine.

Lyme disease is a tick-borne infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, a type of corkscrew- shaped bacteria known as a spirochete (pronounced spiro’keet). The Lyme spirochete resembles the agent of syphilis, long recognized as the epitome of sexually transmitted diseases. Last summer the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that Lyme disease is much more common than previously thought, with over 300,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States. That makes Lyme disease almost twice as common as breast cancer and six times more common than HIV/AIDS.

“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.”

The present study was a collaborative effort by an international team of scientists. In addition to Middelveen, a veterinary microbiologist from Canada, researchers included molecular biologists Jennie Burke, Augustin Franco and Yean Wang and dermatologist Peter Mayne from Australia working with molecular biologists Eva Sapi and Cheryl Bandoski, family practitioner Hilary Schlinger and internist Raphael Stricker from the United States.

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.

“We don’t yet understand why women with Lyme disease have consistently positive vaginal secretions, whilst semen samples are more variable. Obviously there is more work to be done here.”

Dr. Stricker pointed to the unknown risks of contracting Lyme disease raised by the study. “There is always some risk of getting Lyme disease from a tickbite in the woods,” he said. “But there may be a bigger risk of getting Lyme disease in the bedroom.”

Reference: The Journal of Investigative Medicine 2014;62:280-281.

\Presented at the Western Regional Meeting of the American Federation for Medical Research, Carmel, CA, January 25, 2014. http://afmr.org/Western/.

Additional information: officemanager@usmamed.com

 

 

# # #

Related posts:

  1. NEWS: Summary of recent Morgellons conference
  2. NEWS: Audio of Blumenthal’s recent Lyme hearing now available on-line
  3. NEWS: Scientists say Lyme study drew wrong conclusions
  4. NEWS: Yale study shows birds play significant role in spread of Lyme disease
  5. NEWS: The Lyme Times looks at Embers monkey study
Comments

15 thoughts on “NEWS: Recent study suggests that Lyme disease can be sexually transmitted

  1. This is how I fear my husband got Lyme. I’ve been infected for over 20 years and we have been together nearly ten. 2 years ago he began to slowly become ill and in 2013 launched into full-blown Chronic Lyme. No history of a tick bite and previously very healthy. Tested CDC positive in August 2013 and has become just as debilitated as I have been. I worry if I may have passed on my coinfections as well. Terrifying! It truly makes you wonder if the actual amount of those infected is much much higher than even the Lyme community believes it to be.

  2. I don’t believe this. Something is seriously wrong with the design of this study. Did they somehow control for the other other spouse having no possible other access to ticks? My husband gets Lyme a lot. I do too. He’s an arborist, I have a horse. This study just seems like nonsense to me.

    • They didn’t say they proved it could be sexually transmitted. They just proved that it was in %100 of sexual fluid from women and in about half of sexual fluid from men. You can speculate about what might happen from there.

  3. Though I can believe it, I think it will be just dismissed since it basically comes from our side. Unfortunately, their doesn’t seem to be that much funding for objective research by neutral parties, so we are kind of damned if we do and damned if we don’t.

  4. I saw this article and frankly, it makes pretty damned angry. I thank and applaud you for doing this research. It is long overdue!

    Health professionals and researchers should have ASSUMED it was sexually transmitted until it was proven otherwise. Anything other than that is nothing short of malpractice in their part. And while I’m not a health professional, I’m no idiot either.

    1. Lyme disease is a blood borne pathogen. Name one other blood borne pathogen that is not sexually transmitted. Can’t? That’s because THERE IS NONE. So why would health professionals not warn patients to practice safe sex? Again, as said, it’s nothing short of malpractice.
    2. There are hundreds of thousands of DOCUMENTED cases of spouses and partners contracting Lyme Disease without any history of exposure through anything but sexual transmission. Again, why would you ignore, and disregard this data and information?
    3. Finally, but certainly not least of all, knowing that the bacterium for Lyme Disease is a spirochete, they KNOW from their medical experiences with Syphilis, that it is a difficult bacterium to kill off, that it hides in tissues and organs, can lie dormant, and can cause neurological and psychological issues once it enters the brain. So the fact that it’s in fluids shared during intercourse should not have been a surprise for the medical community. Again, is this gross negligence, malpractice, or a cover up of something else?

    The big question here isn’t whether or not Lyme Disease is sexually transferrable. It’s a reasonable assumption that it is for the reasons cited above!

    The real question is why doctors and researchers in organizations (and the government) as were covering that up, and why were they denying the tests to prove partners had contracted it?

    Is the answer, because the insurance companies didn’t want to pay for their tests and treatments? That would be my guess. And it is disgusting that these boards have denied these people testing and treatment. It not only is gross negligence and malpractice, it is criminal.

    When you ask these questions what other, possible answer is there? Mass collusion or mass malpractice? They all are either hiding and covering this up, or they are all grossly incompetent and need to lose their licenses to practice medicine!

    Thank you for exposing this continued debacle! Support foundations that fight for the rights of those sick with Lyme Disease. Demand investigations of the these criminal actions both within our government and those “other” organizations from your legislatures!

  5. I am a patient of Dr. Stricker’s and am positive for Lyme. I 100% contracted it sexually from my husband as I never go into wooded areas or had any interaction in areas with ticks. Please believe me when I say it is a sexually transmitted disease. If I had known this sooner, I would’ve sought treatment 2 years ago when my husband was diagnosed.

  6. Well, this is how I got lyme. I had a date with a woman that was bitten by a tick 2 weeks before and was starting abx treatment.

    I could feel the “animal” going up the urinary tract for a few days and then in several months it travelled from the base of the spine up to the cerebellum. There it still is ofcourse. But ofcourse it could be that I allready had the infection and that some secundairy infection from my date triggered an immune weaking that made it possible for the Lyme to become active. Within 1 week after the date my whole body was covered in large red spots, migrans all over

  7. WOW! I am really glad I did some research on this topic. I have recently started a relationship with a GREAT woman who has chronic lyme. Our intimacy has been nothing more than kissing. Obviously, this is a topic her and I need to discuss. Robyn, your post is sooooo relevant.

    • This gives me hope that I will someday find a partner, despite having chronic lyme. I do believe the spriochete is in the saliva too. :-(

      Do practice safe sex to reduce your risk should the time come.

Post your comment

Please limit responses to 150 words. (And please, no vulgar language, no personal attacks, no spam.) Comments are moderated, so there may be a delay before they appear on website.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*


*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

8511