Recovery of Lyme spirochetes by PCR in semen samples of previously diagnosed Lyme disease patients
Gregory Bach, DO, International Scientific Conference on Lyme Disease, April 2001
Lyme disease, being a spirochete with pathology similar to syphilis, is often found difficult to treat due to the spirochete invading sanctuary sites and displaying pleomorphic characteristics such as a cyst (L-form). Because a significant portion of sexually active couples present to my office with Lyme disease, with only one partner having a history of tick exposure, the question of possible secondary (sexual) vector of transmission for the spirochete warrants inquiry. Additionally, sexually active couples seem to have a marked propensity for antibiotic failure raising the question of sexually active couples re-infecting themselves through intimate contact.
ALL positive semen/vaginal samples in patients with known sexual partners resulted in positive Lyme titers/PCR in their sexual partners. 3/4 positive semen patients had no or unknown sexual partners to be tested.
These preliminary findings warrant further study. Current a statistical design study to evaluate the possibility of sexual transition of the spirochete is being undertaken. Our laboratory studies confirm the existence of Lyme spirochetes in semen/vaginal secretions. Whether or not further clinical studies with a larger statistical group will support the hypothesis of sexual transmission remains to be seen.
A retrospective clinical study is also underway. We are reviewing the medical records, collecting semen samples of patients who were previously diagnosed with current and previously treated Lyme disease are being asked to provide semen,pap and blood samples for extensive laboratory testing.
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