As we go through life with pick up micro-organisms. An untold volume of viruses and bacteria are added to our bodies like barnacles accumulating on the hull of an aging ship. Hopefully the ship will stay afloat. This is the natural order. We evolved to survive in a soup of microbes. Only a few make us sick. Of course that varies. Opportunistic infections. It has a nice ring. These are dormant germs, biding their time, waiting for the right moment or "opportunity"to strike and make their mark. They can only make a move when the ever vigilant immune system has taken some hard hits and dozed off while on guard duty. Of course Bartonella is the most common tick borne infection. This is no surprise. It comes from the bite of fleas, mosquitoes, flies and a host of other insects. It is impossible to avoid. It is a small gram negative, falcultative, intracellular bacteria with an affinity for red blood cells. This means it has a defined cell wall and is hard to culture. The healthy population is exposed all the time. It only gets you if your immune system is on the fritz. Lyme suppresses the immune system. Is that why Bartonella causes problems? Or does it? Unfortunately, the only thing certain about Lyme medicine is that little is certain. The blood tests are inaccurate. The Fry test is inaccurate. The Fry test finds BLOs, Bartonella like organism which are an entirely different matter. These are feline germs without cell walls more related to Mycoplasmas, not known to be transmitted by vectors (ticks). To add to the confusion, Dr. Burrascano and others call the tick borne Bartonella BLOs as well. What is meant here is that tick transmitted Bartonella behaves differently than other forms of the same species commonly associated with Cat Scratch Fever. Did you follow me? Clear as mud. Bartonella can cause a host of very serious illnesses in patients who are immunsuppressed by HIV, alcoholism, malnutrition, cancer and others. This unique Bartonella, associated with LBC (Lyme Borreliosis Compex) is said to have unique features. It doesn't cause the serious Bartonella associated diseases like endocarditis which are well documented in standard medical texts. It causes: More severe psychiatric symptoms, rashes and nodules, Lyme symptoms which are refractory to therapy and other symptoms listed by well known LLMDs. One problem is that all of the purported Bartonella specific symptoms are also seen with Lyme. Lyme causes serious neuropsychiatric symptoms of all sorts. Lyme is associated with all sorts of mysterious dermatologic manifestations and so on. Essentially what we are talking about then is: 1) a germ that everyone gets 2) symptoms which may be caused by just Lyme and 3) no reliable test to confirm that the organism is present or gone. One LLMD claims that treatment is very difficult. Standard therapies are ineffective. Patients should be treated with high doses of both Zithromax and Biaxin in combination. Another very well known LLMD says it should be treated with Levaquin for one to three months. He reports that Rifampin may be an alternative therapy. He claims that since Levaquin doesn't kill Lyme improvement must be attributed to the killing of Bartonella. One little problem. Where are the facts? These are anecdotal reports; there is no science to support them. Both treatment DO KILL LYME. Sorry. Look at the original studies on minimal inhibitory concentration of drugs effective against Lyme. Although Cipro is a more effective quinolone for killing Lyme, its cousin Levaquin also dispatches the little buggers.
Bartonella: We all got it and keep getting it. It is opportunistic. Does Lyme cripple the immune system enough to let it ravage our bodies? If so, why doesn't it cause any of the well known syndromes associated with the organism. Listen Lymeland: Gary Wormser and Allen Steere are gunning for us. Why are we loading their guns with ammo? We know that Lyme is hard to kill and that different antibiotics seem to work better for different patients. The notion of individual patient responses to medicines is accepted in all facets of medicine. If blood pressure medicine A doesn't work perhaps med B will. We can conjecture, theorize and pontificate regarding our beliefs that Bartonella may do this or that. But we need to be clear that we are just throwing out theories. When we start writing down symptom lists and medication lists, without the backing of science we are acting like, gee, the ID... As a favorite med school professor said: " Call 'em like you see 'em."