"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Study could explain reason for persistent symptoms of Lyme disease

May 15, 2023 – Why do some people get well quickly from Lyme disease while others suffer from chronic symptoms for years? Elevated levels of an immune system marker within the blood could be the reason, based on a brand new study.

The studypublished within the CDC's journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, found that prime levels of interferon-alpha were present in study participants who had been treated for Lyme disease but still suffered from symptoms equivalent to pain, swelling, and fatigue.

Interferon-alpha is one in every of the signaling proteins that tell the body to fight bacteria and viruses. Klemen Strle, PhD, assistant professor of molecular biology and microbiology at Tufts University and writer of the brand new study, said NBC News that these high levels may cause the immune system to overreact to Lyme disease and cause inflammation even after the infection has cleared.

“We believe this is a possible reason for the persistent symptoms,” he told NBC News.

The study included only 79 participants and failed to ascertain a causal link between high interferon-alpha levels and the persistent symptoms of Lyme disease. More extensive studies are needed, the researchers said.

The findings could help provide “important insights for new therapeutic approaches” to treat persistent Lyme symptoms, the study says.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection brought on by tick bites. If the tick is removed inside 48 hours, it is frequently not infected. In infected people, the bacteria can enter the body tissues via the bloodstream, causing inflammation, affecting the skin, joints and nervous system, after which spreading to other organs.

The CDC According to the CDC, about 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported to state health departments annually. Many cases go unreported, and up to date estimates suggest that about 476,000 people contract Lyme disease annually.