Friday, July 11, 2008
Fry labs: What are Hemobartonella???
I am concerned about Fry labs. The lab is owned and operated by a single individual in Arizona. Dr. Fry is a general practitioner. He is not a board certified laboratory pathologist. His website provides no peer reviewed studies or evidence of proficiency testing to support his contentions. He does not even discus his methodology. Blogs and discussion boards reveal that many patients feel his lab is better than IgeneX. Fry labs is not in the same league. IgeneX has research studies and proficiency testing as well as proven technology. I am afraid that results from Fry labs may be of little value. I read a patient blog which stated that Fry first diagnosed Babesia and Bartonella. When these cleared the lab then diagnosed Ehrlichia. The reason given was that the Ehrlichia was able to grow when these other organisms were knocked out. This sounds like utter nonsense. Lyme physicians who are already working outside the box, must be very careful not to jump on the bandwagon of experimental and unsupported tests, coming from questionable sources. Co-infections are controversial. Their role in "Lyme Disease Complex" is far from settled. Babesia is difficult to diagnose. The most reputable labs in the country fail to find it on blood smears because it infects so few red blood cells. If Fry Labs is the only place that can see it on a smear it suggests the lab is finding a lot of false positives. Again, no validation of their methodology is provided. Other organisms like Bartonella are not seen by other labs on blood smears. Fry lab frequently reports Hemobartonella. This as feline infection which is not transmitted by ticks or insects. This small organism is cell wall deficient and may attach to the outer surface of red blood cells. It is now considered a Mycoplasma like organism. Germs of this sort do not stain and are not visible with light microscopy. Anyway, they are not a known Lyme co-infection. The other type of Bartonella is a small gram negative bacteria which is transmitted by ticks and other biting insects. It may live inside red blood cells but does not attach itself to the outside of red blood cells. It is not visible by any well established microscopic test. Dr. Fry is reporting findings which are misleading, inaccurate, unsubstantiated and not endorsed by any major organization like ILADS. One of the cornerstones of Lyme medicine is that co-infections are very difficult to prove. Their presence is frequently inferred based solely on clinical suspicions. When something seems too good to be true...you know the rest.