More Borrelia Species Contribute to Raging Lyme Disease Epidemic

More Borrelia Species Contribute to Raging Lyme Disease Epidemic

When I first read the following medical paper, I was stunned.

The information in the opening has been known by the medical community for decades. Did you know any of this? Why aren’t medical doctors changing testing and diagnosis procedures to account for this?

The research paper, published in the peer-reviewed “Journal of Bacteriology” was to announce the incredible feat of mapping the entire gene sequences of Read the following excerpts here:

Whole-Genome Sequences of Borrelia bissettii, Borrelia valaisiana, and Borrelia spielmanii 

Steven E. Schutzer, a Claire M. Fraser-Liggett,b Wei-Gang Qiu,c Peter Kraiczy,d Emmanuel F. Mongodin,b John J. Dunn,eBenjamin J. Luft,f and Sherwood R. Casjensg     2012  Journal of Bacteriology


It has been known for decades that human Lyme disease is caused by the three [author’s note “Not just burgdorferi.”] spirochete species Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia afzelii, and Borrelia garinii.

Recently, Borrelia valaisiana, Borrelia spielmanii, and Borrelia bissettii have been associated with Lyme disease. We report the complete genome sequences of B. valaisiana VS116, B. spielmanii A14S, and B. bissettii DN127.

The bacteria that cause human Lyme disease belong to a group of at least 15 species, referred to as Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, or the Lyme disease agent bacterial group (20). Among these, B. burgdorferi sensu stricto causes Lyme disease in North America, while in Europe and eastern Asia Borrelia afzelii, Borrelia garinii, and Borrelia bavariensis sp. nov. are the best-known causes (reference 15 and references therein); however, more recently, Borrelia bissettii, Borrelia lusitaniae,Borrelia spielmanii, and Borrelia valaisiana have been isolated from Lyme disease patients (5816,17). Other species in this bacterial group, such as Borrelia japonica and Borrelia sincia in Asia, have not been associated with human disease. To date, genome sequences have been reported for 14 B. burgdorferi isolates (1919), 2 B. afzelii isolates (411), 2 B. garinii isolates (411), 1 B. bavariensissp. nov. isolate (10), and 1 isolate of unassigned species (2).

We report here the complete genome sequences for three additional Borrelia species: B. valaisianaisolate VS116 (from an Ixodes rinicus tick [Switzerland]) (1418), B. bissettii isolate DN127 clone 9 (Ixodes pacificus tick [northern California]) (12), and B. spielmanii isolate A14S (human skin [The Netherlands]) (21). DNA samples from low-passage isolates were sequenced to minimize plasmid loss, and genomes were sequenced to about 8-fold coverage as previously described (13).

Genome annotation was performed using the JCVI Prokaryotic Annotation Pipeline ( The DN127 chromosome and 35 of 39 plasmid sequence contigs were closed, but in order to maximize the use of available funds, the sequences of a few replicons were not closed and some gaps remained in these sequences (two chromosomes and one cp9 and three cp32 plasmids, because they are much less variable than the other plasmids)…

 …The detailed analyses of these genome sequences will be a major step forward in attaining a complete understanding of B. burgdorferi sensu lato diversity. They will contribute to the development of species- and group-specific vaccines and diagnostic tools, as well as inform us whether these species are in genetic contact with the more-common Lyme disease-associated agents. These foundational sequencing efforts can now be further developed with the use of evolving deep sequencing methods.

Advanced Lab Services tests for all three species: Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia afzelii, and Borrelia garinii.

This is the test that finally showed my active infection after seven years of treatment – more than half of that time I was on IV antibiotics or oral antibiotics (even bicillin shots for 8 weeks).  This included 6 weeks of Doxycycline after my initial “crash”.


Advanced Laboratory Services offers a range of culture-based blood tests that can be used to identify the presence of Borrelia in these samples.


Blood samples are placed into a short-term culture upon receipt, and are assessed after approximately one week. If no Borrelia are observed, or if the results at this point are inconclusive, the sample is then transferred into a long-term culture, and analyzed at eight weeks. If the culture is negative at 8 weeks, there is an option to extend the culture to 16 weeks at an additional cost, by selecting the Extended Culture Add-On. All positive cultures are confirmed by growth characteristics and by Borrelia-specific polyclonal immunostaining. In some cases, the ordering practitioner may prefer to specify that
immunostaining be performed using a monoclonal antibody-based immunostain. The explanation and application of these two complementary types of immunostains are outlined below.

COMPREHENSIVE BORRELIA CULTURE: (This is the test I had done with 16 weeks extended culture and PCR with DNA sequencing.)

The comprehensive culture includes all the steps of the basic culture, but in addition to immunostaining, it adds nucleic acid-based confirmatory tests: DNA PCR combined with DNA sequencing. See below for details.


Polyclonal Immunostaining: This more general staining method will detect the presence of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato (which includes Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii), and it has been demonstrated to identify Borrelia hermsii as well. However, it will not pick up treponemes burgdorferi sensu lato (which includes Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii), and it has been demonstrated to identify Borrelia hermsii as well. However, it will not pick up treponemes.

Monoclonal Immunostaining: This method is identical to the Basic Culture method with the exception of substituting the monoclonal antibody. This monoclonal immunostain will identify only Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, meaning it will not pick up infections with Borrelia afzelii or Borrelia garinii, the relapsing fever spirochete Borrelia hermsii, or treponemes. If the patient is thought to have Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto or if one is not interested in looking for Borrelia hermsii, then the monoclonal method can be chosen. The Monoclonal Antibody Add-On is a useful option because it utilizes both the broad detection of the polyclonal antibody and the specificity of the monoclonal antibody available
through one culture.

PCR with DNA sequencing: This option can be added to either of the two basic cultures, and when positive would confirm the immunostain results.

Example: If one suspects B. burgdorferi sensu lato but wants to independent confirmation of the immunostain result, then select the option to add PCR with sequencing.

In addition, when nucleic acid testing is applied to indeterminate short-term cultures, an infection may be confirmed at that point, providing information earlier than would have been the case if the nucleic acid testing were not done and the culture had to be held to the endpoint.

Example: After short-term culture, if results are indeterminate but the PCR/sequencing shows that the culture is positive, a preliminary report of these findings will be generated
immediately. The specimen will nevertheless be placed into long-term culture, and a final report will be provided at the end of the culture process.

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One Response to More Borrelia Species Contribute to Raging Lyme Disease Epidemic

  1. Michelle Ring says:

    Thank you for this information.
    I have been labeled chiciotic on all my Heath record, there for I am not able to get a doctor to help me Wiith my moegellions. This is very active in my daily life.
    Where can I go to get in with a doctor who will study me?
    I need help.
    I mostly accept phone calls, I will travel east coast.

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