The history of Lyme disease

General or non-medical topics with information and discussion related to Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases.
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Martian
Posts: 1944
Joined: Thu 26 Jul 2007 18:29
Location: Friesland, the Netherlands

The history of Lyme disease

Post by Martian » Thu 20 Nov 2014 16:33

The history of Lyme disease actually starts over a century ago, but the pre 1970s era mostly doesn't get the attention it deserves and likewise many people don't get the credits they deserve.

The following text serves as a starting point.


Source: http://pn.bmjjournals.com/content/4/3/152.full.pdf
Review

Neuroborreliosis

John H. J. Wokke, Jan A. L. Vanneste

Practical Neurology, 2004, 4, 152–161


THE DISCOVERY OF A ‘NEW’ DISEASE

Neuroborreliosis is part of the spectrum of Lyme disease which was first described about a quarter of a century ago, although it existed long before that. For example, in 1909 the Swedish dermatologist Afzelius incriminated ticks as the potential vectors of an agent causing erythema migrans (Burgdorfer 1986) and DNA of the causative agent Borrelia burgdorferi has been demonstrated in archival tick specimens collected in New England in the 1940s (Persing et al . 1990).

In 1922 Garin and Bujadoux described a French peasant with erythema migrans on the left buttock (Garin & Bujaudoux 1922). He had shooting pains in his legs, trunk and one arm, and developed increasing weakness and atrophy of the right deltoid muscle. The cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) protein was raised, and there was a pleocytosis. The authors labelled the disease ‘tick paralysis’ and suggested an unknown infection transmitted by a sheep tick. As the patient had erythema migrans, which is pathognomonic for infection with B. burgdorferi (Berger 1984), this in retrospect must have been the first description of a patient with neuroborreliosis. Two decades later, the German physician Alfred Bannwarth described a series of similar patients with painful polyneuritis following tick bite (Bannwarth 1941). Many also had a facial palsy. Following similar reports in other European countries, the syndrome was called lymphocytic meningoradiculitis following tick bite (Garin-Bujadoux-Bannwarth, or Bannwarth’s syndrome). Because a tick-borne infection was suspected, some patients were empirically treated with penicillin and rapidly recovered.

Then, in the late 1970s, a tick-borne disease was diagnosed in children in Lyme, Connecticut. The first manifestation of what at first was thought to be a novel disease, named Lyme disease, was erythema around the tick bite. In some patients disseminated infection evolved within days or weeks, affecting the nervous system, heart or joints (Steere 2001). The neurological features were unilateral or bilateral facial palsy, sometimes accompanied by headache as a sign of mild meningitis, and features of a motor or sensory radiculoneuropathy. The CSF showed a mild lymphocytic pleocytosis. By elegant analyses of the intestines of ticks that were recovered from skin and arthritic lesions, and antibody testing, Dr Willy Burgdorfer and colleagues showed that a Borrelia species was responsible for the infection (Burgdorfer et al . 1982). Diagnostic tests were then developed and a few years later antibodies against B. burgdorferi were demonstrated in European patients with Bannwarth’s syndrome.

(...)

edit: emphasised two more lines.
Last edited by Martian on Thu 20 Nov 2014 21:01, edited 2 times in total.

Martian
Posts: 1944
Joined: Thu 26 Jul 2007 18:29
Location: Friesland, the Netherlands

Re: The history of Lyme disease

Post by Martian » Thu 20 Nov 2014 20:53

Rudolf Ackermann from Germany is also someone who deserves attention. In 1973 he described and rediscovered Bannwarth’s syndrome and the publications of Garin and Bujadoux from 1922. He was also one of the pioneers of discovering the etiology of Lyme disease.

Fortschr Neurol Psychiatr Grenzgeb. 1973 Nov;41(11):583-606.

[Tick born meningopolyneuritis (Garin-Bujadoux, Bannwarth) (author's transl)].

[Article in German]

Hörstrup P, Ackermann R.

PMID: 4492231 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
MMW Munch Med Wochenschr. 1976 Dec 3;118(49):1621-2.

[Tick-borne meningopolyneuritis (Garin-Bujadoux, Bannwarth)].

[Article in German]

Ackermann R.

Abstract

The meningopolyneuritis first described in 1922 by Garin and Bujadoux develops after a tick bite. At the site of the bite in some of the cases, erythema chronicum migrans develops first. Severe pains follow in this area which may spread to other parts of the body. Then peripheral paralysis appears with asymmetrical distribution. The motor cerebral nerves, especially the facial nerve, are also frequently affected. Mild sensitivity disorders occur with no systematic arrangement. There is a lymphocyte pleocytosis of 100-2600/3 mm3 and an increase in protein of varying intensity, meningeal symptoms usually being absent. The disease persists for 3-5 months. Apart from rare residual, the prognosis is favorable.

PMID: 826813 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 1980 Dec 19;105(51):1779-81.

[Erythema chronicum migrans with arthritis (author's transl)].

[Article in German]

Ackermann R, Runne U, Klenk W, Dienst C.

Abstract

In a 46-year-old woman arthritis developed in several large joints eight weeks after the onset of erythema chronicum migrans. The joints of the leg were swollen and painful. In addition there was painful involvement bilaterally of knee, hip and elbow joints. Circulating immune complexes were demonstrated in serum and the erythrocyte sedimentation rate was moderately increased. All other laboratory and radiological tests were within normal limits. On symptomatic treatment the arthritis regressed without sequelae within six weeks. The disease is nosologically related to Lyme disease recently described in the North East of the U.S.A. in which erythema chronicum migrans is followed by arthritis; here, too, circulating immune complexes have been demonstrated.

PMID: 7439072 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 1983 Apr 15;108(15):577-80.

[Chronic erythema migrans and tick-transmitted meningopolyneuritis (Garin-Bujadoux-Bannwarth): Borrelia infections?].

[Article in German]

Ackermann R.

Abstract

Antibodies against Borrelia duttoni using indirect immunofluorescence could be demonstrated in 6 patients with erythema chronicum migrans and in 8 persons with tick-borne meningopolyneuritis. Significant increases of IgG and IgM antibody titres in the course of the disease and IgG antibodies in the CSF indicate recent contact with Borrelia duttoni or a closely related agent. Demonstration by fluorescence serology of spirochaetaceae in Ixodes ricinus in two sites of infection equally indicate such an aetiology. The immunofluorescence test for patient sera used here improves the diagnosis of erythema chronicum migrans infection and of its various organ manifestations. Results are similar to those in Lyme disease in the United States.

PMID: 6839977 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Fortschr Med. 1983 Jul 7;101(25):1167-70.

[The spirochetal etiology of erythema chronicum migrans and Garin-Bujadoux-Bannwarth meningo-polyneuritis].

[Article in German]

Ackermann R.

Abstract

Erythema chronicum migrans and tick-born meningo-polyneuritis Garin-Bujadoux-Bannwarth are caused by a spirochete transmitted by Ixodes ricinus. The same is true of Lyme disease, the erythema chronicum migrans infection of North America transmitted by ticks of the same genus. In Europe demonstration of IgG and IgM antibodies against Borrelia duttoni during the course of infection and by immunofluorescence staining of spirochetes in ticks at sites of infection indicate this etiology. In the USA a spirochete could be isolated from ticks and from blood, skin and cerebrospinal fluid of patients with Lyme disease. In addition patients showed antibodies against the isolated spirochete. The etiologic findings allow a better causative therapy and the investigation of the pathogenesis and the epidemiology of the multiform disease which can involve skin, nervous system, joints and heart.

PMID: 6884950 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 1984 Jan 20;109(3):92-7.

[Spirochete etiology of erythema chronicum migrans disease].

[Article in German]

Ackermann R, Kabatzki J, Boisten HP, Steere AC, Grodzicki RL, Hartung S, Runne U.

Abstract

From ticks of the type Ixodes ricinus, 19 strains of a spirochete were isolated at three places of infection of erythema chronicum migrans disease. The spirochete was immunologically related to Borrelia duttoni, Treponema pallidum and Ixodes dammini spirochete, the causative organism of North American erythema chronicum migrans disease (Lyme disease). The isolated spirochete differed from the North American one in its reaction with monoclonal antibodies and possibly in its electronmicroscopic structure. A corresponding spirochete was isolated from the blood of a woman with erythema chronicum migrans. Of 39 patients with erythema chronicum migrans mostly treated with antibiotics 50% had increased IgG antibody titre (1:64 to 1:1024) against the isolated spirochete, while among 51 untreated patients with tick-transmitted meningopolyneuritis 90% had increased IgG antibody titres. Fourfold antibody titres increases or falls were found on 50 occasions. IgG antibody titres up to 1:64 were demonstrated also in CSF, in 22 instances with significant changes. Increased serum IgM antibody titres of 1:32 to 1:256 were observed in 20% and 68%, respectively, of patients. These findings suggest that the isolated spirochete is the causative agent of erythema chronicum migrans disease in Europe. Its antigen structure and arrangement is similar to that of the causative agent of Lyme disease.

PMID: 6363033 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

velvetmagnetta
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Re: The history of Lyme disease

Post by velvetmagnetta » Fri 21 Nov 2014 4:30

This is very interesting, Martian. Thank you for finding and posting all of these articles!

Really, I suppose, the Borrelia species has been infecting humans for at least 5,000 years:

(I know that the following are not taken from peer-reviewed journals, but they do reference peer-reviewed papers - and are easier for me to read!)
Iceman Mummy May Hold Earliest Evidence of Lyme Disease

http://www.livescience.com/18704-oldest ... mummy.html

From the article:

"To sequence the Iceman's genome, researchers took a sample from his hip bone. In it, they looked for not only human DNA — the chemical code that makes up genes — but also for that of other organisms. While they found evidence of other microbes, the Lyme disease bacterium, called Borrelia burgdorferi, was the only one known to cause disease, said Albert Zink, a study researcher and head of the European Institute for Mummies and the Iceman at the European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano (EURAC) in Italy."

"Our data point to the earliest documented case of a B. burg­dorferi infection in mankind. To our knowledge, no other case report about borreliosis [Lyme disease] is available for ancient or historic specimens," Zink and colleagues write in an article published on Tuesday (Feb. 28) in the journal Nature Communications."
This was, I believe, before there ever was a Lyme, Connecticut.

I'm guessing the Lyme bacteria has been around even longer than the tick species it inhabits:
Ancient Lyme Disease Bacteria Found in 15-Million-Year-Old Tick Fossils

http://www.livescience.com/46007-lyme-d ... -tick.html

From the article:

"The oldest known evidence of Lyme disease may lie in ticks that were entombed in amber at least 15 million years ago, scientists announced."
The human race is just a drop in the bucket compared to the evolutionary span of the Borrelia species. No wonder it has so many immune system evasion tactics!

Martian
Posts: 1944
Joined: Thu 26 Jul 2007 18:29
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Re: The history of Lyme disease

Post by Martian » Fri 21 Nov 2014 22:27

@velvetmagnetta,

Yeah, that poor guy Ötzi. Legend has it that he escaped from Isola Prugna where aliens subjected him to sinister experiments. Apparently he was tracked down again and had to be killed, because he knew too much...

velvetmagnetta
Posts: 469
Joined: Sun 23 Feb 2014 22:47

Re: The history of Lyme disease

Post by velvetmagnetta » Fri 21 Nov 2014 22:32

Well, he was shot in the back...

Probably more of a tribal conspiracy than an alien one.

Joanne60
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Location: Guildford Surrey UK

Re: The history of Lyme disease

Post by Joanne60 » Sat 22 Nov 2014 13:34

The presentation that Stella did at the 2013 Lyme Disease Action Conference - Illuminating History has some interesting references included to follow up on http://www.lymediseaseaction.org.uk/wha ... es/2013-2/

velvetmagnetta
Posts: 469
Joined: Sun 23 Feb 2014 22:47

Re: The history of Lyme disease

Post by velvetmagnetta » Sun 23 Nov 2014 9:38

There are a number of threads running right now in which members of Lymenet Europe are attempting to trace the the source of the Lyme controversy: chronic infection vs. not chronic; persistence vs. non-persistence; ongoing infection after treatment vs. after-effect symptoms of successfully treated infection.

Martian has pointed out that Lyme disease goes back further than Lyme, Connecticut, after which the disease is named. And the history of Lyme research goes back even further than Willy Burgdofer's discovery of infectious spirochetes. As Martian's first paper states, this disease had been recorded in Europe over a century ago!

The reason I posted about Lyme found in the 5,000 year-old man and the 15,000 year-old tick preserved in amber was not to trivialize the issue of who is responsible for the sorry state of Lyme research today (miscommunications and omissions) and when it happened, rather it was to emphasize that this spiral-shaped bacteria has been on this earth, evolving with ticks and mammals long before humans had ever appeared.

I do believe there is evidence of researchers' and doctors' egos getting in the way of scientific progress in the case of Lyme disease, but I also must consider that the behavior and survival tactics of this particular species of bacteria is incredibly intricate and, well, rather amazing.

In the many ways Borrelia burgdorferi (and other Borrelia species) evades the immune system, I am amazed to see how truly advanced this species has become:
Lymphoadenopathy during Lyme Borreliosis Is Caused by Spirochete Migration-Induced Specific B Cell Activation

Stefan S. Tunev, Christine J. Hastey, Emir Hodzic, Sunlian Feng, Stephen W. Barthold, Nicole Baumgarth

Published: May 26, 2011
DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1002066


http://www.plospathogens.org/article/in ... at.1002066
From the author's summary:
Acute Lyme Disease is one of the most important emerging diseases in the US. People with acute Lyme disease often develop swollen lymph nodes, or lymphadenopathy, but we do not know why this happens or what effect it has on the course of the disease. We show here that when mice are infected with live Borrelia burgdorferi spirochetes (the bacteria that cause Lyme disease), live spirochetes collect in the lymph nodes. These lymph nodes then swell up and start producing large numbers of antibody-producing cells. Although many of these antibodies can recognize the bacteria, they apparently lack the quality to clear the infection. We hypothesize that by moving into the lymph node, usually a site in which strong immune responses are induced, Borrelia evades the immune response: it goes to the lymph nodes and tricks the immune system into making a very strong but inadequate response.
There is a very good description of this study here:

http://spirochetesunwound.blogspot.com/ ... cause.html

(I remember seeing an update on this study, but I can't find it anywhere - maybe it was all in my head? :shock: )

There are so many papers examining the ingenious ways this spirochete survives in its hosts. The controversy surrounding Lyme disease may be due to the baffling behavior of the Borrelia species! Maybe scientists cannot agree because of the enigmatic behavior of a spirochete that has been living and evolving for over 15 million years!

A great number of bacterial species live in the human intestine. Most of them live perfectly symbiotically with the host. The host provides food for the various bacteria, and the bacteria return the favor by more efficiently turning the food we eat into energy. Win-win. We all survive and reproduce.

Perhaps that is what the Lyme spirochetes are trying to do.

Their number-one drive is to survive. In order to do this, they must avoid immune system killer cells, eat, shit, then reproduce. Also very important, an organism must keep its host alive.

I was sick for a really long time before taking antibiotics to kill Lyme. I was in a fair amount of pain and was very tired and losing my ability to walk and to swallow. But then I took minocycline. After 3 weeks on that stuff, I experienced pain I never imagined even existed.

Why?

Why did I get a thousand times sicker when I killed the Lyme disease in my body en masse?

I had the disease for 30 years before treatment. I'm sure in that time, my immune system must have killed many spirochetes, and still others may have died of natural causes (old age? I don't know how long a spirochete can live inside the host).

But never EVER did I hurt as much as I did after taking those antibiotics. I am still debilitated from that experience.

Perhaps Lyme discourages the host from killing too many of them at one time because it is dangerous to the host to do so?

Just like we humans must adjust our behavior in order to survive and thrive on (in) our host, the Earth, so too must Lyme evolve to do as little damage to its host as possible, whilst staying alive and reproducing.

Human waste products, either natural or industrial, can be toxic to our environment. Maybe it is the same way with Borrelia?

Perhaps the Lyme bacteria strives for symbiosis.

Martian
Posts: 1944
Joined: Thu 26 Jul 2007 18:29
Location: Friesland, the Netherlands

Re: The history of Lyme disease

Post by Martian » Thu 4 Dec 2014 22:37

A lot about the history of Lyme disease can be found in the book "Borrelia: Molecular Biology, Host Interaction and Pathogenesis" edited by Justin D. Radolf and D. Scott Samuels.

velvetmagnetta
Posts: 469
Joined: Sun 23 Feb 2014 22:47

Re: The history of Lyme disease

Post by velvetmagnetta » Thu 11 Dec 2014 14:26

I don't know if this belongs here in this thread, but I thought Martian might enjoy this.

It is an animation using all paper puppets to describe a short history of the discovery of microbes by Dutch scientist and haberdasher, Leewenhoek (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonie_van_Leeuwenhoek).

The short film is narrated by my favorite quorum sensing scientist, Bonnie Bassler (http://biojoan.com/bacteria-talk-bonnie ... m-sensing/)

Here is the film:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTzHxNMK0bU

Enjoy! It's delightful!

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