DOI: 10.3390/microorganisms11092152 ISSN:

A Longitudinal Study of a Large Clinical Cohort of Patients with Lyme Disease and Tick-Borne Co-Infections Treated with Combination Antibiotics

David Xi, Abbie Thoma, Minha Rajput-Ray, Anne Madigan, Gordana Avramovic, Kunal Garg, Leona Gilbert, John S. Lambert
  • Virology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Microbiology

The rising prevalence of tick-borne infections (TBIs) necessitates further attention. This study retrospectively investigated the types of TBIs, symptoms, and if combination antibiotics were helpful within a patient cohort at an infectious disease clinic in Ireland. In this chart audit of 301 individuals (184 female, 117 male) tested for TBIs, 140 (46.51%) had positive antibody responses for TBIs from an ELISA (enzyme-linked immunoassay) that was based on a modified two-tiered testing protocol. A total of 93 (66.43%) patients had positive antibody responses to one TBI: 83 (59.29%) for Borrelia, 7 (5.00%) for Rickettsia, and 1 (0.71%) each for either Babesia, Bartonella, or Ehrlichia. The remaining 47 (33.57%) patients were infected with multiple TBIs. These patients were treated with combination antibiotics and monitored at two subsequent follow-ups. Only 2 of 101 patients (1.98%) had discontinued treatment by the second follow-up. In the first follow-up with 118 patients, 70 (59.32%) reported pain and 48 (40.68%) had neurological symptoms. In the next follow-up of 101 patients, 41 (40.59%) had pain while 30 (29.70%) had neurological symptoms. There were statistically significant reductions in the incidence of pain (41.43%) and neurological (37.50%) symptoms between follow-ups. Thus, our study demonstrates that combination antibiotics effectively relieve TBI symptoms with good patient tolerance.

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