Prolonged symptoms following treatment of Lyme disease – Chronic Lyme disease, page 64, lines 1474-1479: It states that “The term ‘chronic Lyme disease’ as currently used lacks an accepted definition for either clinical use or scientific study, and it has not been widely accepted by the medical or scientific community”.
Although this statement is correct with respect to the lack of an accepted clinical definition, at least 68 publications in peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals spanning 1985 to 2019 describe the chronic infectious and persistent nature of Lyme disease.
While treatment of patients with Doxycycline or other standard-of-care antibiotics is quite effective when provided within the first few weeks of infection, no clinical studies have demonstrated complete clearance of spirochetes; just elimination of symptoms for some, but not all patients (i.e., PTLDS patients). When early treatment is ineffective or initial diagnosis is delayed, B. burgdorferi can avoid pharmaceutical and/or immune clearance and spirochetes have an opportunity to disseminate and cause persistent disease. Literally a dozen or more bacterial pathogens are capable of establishing persistent infection and associated chronic disease. It would be truly remarkable if B. burgdorferi were unable to do the same. To our knowledge, there is no scientific or medical evidence to suggest they are incapable. Whether persistent disease is synonymous with persistent infection is an important scientific question worthy of objective consideration and further careful investigation, rather than recrimination, disparagement and dismissal. The revised guidelines would stand on firmer scientific/medical footing were it to acknowledge that the question of persistent disease vs. infection is still an open question, rather than suggesting the latter has no evidentiary support whatsoever.