There is as yet no consensus as to whether there is Lyme disease in Australia. The majority of medical practitioners and pathologists are of the opinion that there is no endemic spirochete vector in Australia. There however remains very vocal support groups that have a contrary view.

The difficulty in diagnosis hinges on the complex pathological testing to confirm the presence of current and past Lyme disease. Over the last few years many new tests have been advocated. These tests appear not to have been thoroughly tested against “gold standard” measurements.

The diagnosis is critical as in the early stages the treatment is with antibiotics. There are those that advocate long-term antibiotics also for chronic Lyme disease.
A trial of antibiotrics sounds very simple there are significant downsides to the use of antibiotics.

The central role of gut bacteria ( the microbiome) in the maintenance of health and the influence of disease.

As we learn more and more about the importance of gut bacteria in the maintenance of many health promoting processes in the body there is now a lot of health promoting information on how to maintain gut health. Even short courses of antibiotics can lead to long-term changes in the bacteria in the bowel with unknown consequences.

In the coming few years it will be possible for the first time to measure accurately the impact that antibiotics have on the bowel function and how long it takes to recover. Antibiotics are now being used increasingly to treat unwanted bowel bacteria. The recently new treatment of faecal transplants have a definite role in the treatment of one form of bacterial ( clostruidium Dificile) bowel overgrowth. However this treatm,ent is now being used experimentally to treat a wide range of conditions from obesity to autoimmune diseases.

Which brings me back to the use of antibiotics for Lyme Disease and how critical it is to make an accurate diagnosis so that the risks and benefits of taking antibiotics can be better calculated.

The main health regulator in the United States, the FDA have announced an investigation into laboratory testing centres and their measurements of Lyme Disease as there has been an exponential growth in the number of positive diagnoses and the introduction of treatments which may or may not be necessary. FDA Says Some Lyme Tests are Dangerous – Will Start Regulating Them – Major Changes Expected. Read about the FDA announcement here