Chronic Diseases and Translational Medicine
Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne illness in the United States and has been causing significant morbidity since its discovery in 1977. It is well-documented that about 10% of patients properly treated with antibiotics never fully recover, but instead go on to develop a chronic illness dubbed, posttreatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS) characterized by severe fatigue, cognitive slowing, chronic pain, and sleep difficulties. This review includes 18 studies that detail the symptoms of patients with PTLDS and uses qualitative analysis to compare them to myalgic encephalitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), a strikingly similar syndrome. In the majority of the PTLDS studies, at least four of the six major symptoms of ME/CFS were also noted, including substantial impairment in activity level and fatigue for more than 6 months, post-exertional malaise, and unrefreshing sleep. In one of the included PTLDS articles, 26 of the 29 ME/CFS symptoms were noted. This study adds to the expanding literature on the post-active phase of infection syndromes, which suggests that chronic illnesses such as PTLDS and ME/CFS have similar pathogenesis despite different infectious origins.
Bai, NA, Richardson, CS. Posttreatment Lyme disease syndrome and myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome: a systematic review and comparison of pathogenesis. Chronic Dis Transl Med. 2023; 1- 8. doi:10.1002/cdt3.74
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