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Antibody responses in patients with Lyme arthritis
Date:11/28/2007

Lyme disease in the U.S. is caused by a form of bacteria, the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, infecting humans by tick bites. It typically begins with a bulls-eye skin rash, accompanied by fever, muscle aches, or other flu-like symptoms. If diagnosed early, Lyme can be treated successfully within a month with either oral or intravenous antibiotics. Nearly 60 percent of patients who do not receive antibiotic therapy early in the illness develop intermittent or persistent arthritis, particularly affecting the knees. Moreover, a small percentage of Lyme patients who do receive antibiotic therapy suffer from persistent arthritis for months or even several years after 2-3 months of oral and intravenous antibiotic therapy. This confounding condition has been termed antibiotic-refractory, or slowly resolving, Lyme arthritis.

To gain insights into the survival of spirochetes following antibiotic therapy, researchers at the Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the National Center for Infectious Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention teamed up to study antibody responses to Borrelia burgdorferi in patients with antibiotic-refractory or antibiotic-responsive Lyme arthritis. Presented in the December 2007 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritis), their findings indicate that joint inflammation persists in patients with antibiotic-refractory Lyme arthritis after the disease-spreading spirochetes have been killed.

To compare antibody responses and determine their effect on Lyme arthritis, the team tested at least 3 blood serum samples each from 41 patients with antibiotic-refractory arthritis, 23 patients with antibiotic-resp
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Contact: Amy Molnar
amolnar@wiley.com
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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