Matthew Goss's Lyme Disease Information

Definitions and Terminology



How I got it

Types of Ticks that Carry Disease

Definitions and Terminology

Symptoms and Tests


Herxheimer Reactions

Vitamins, Nutritional Supplements, and Herbs

Bacteria and Yeast


Costs of Treatment

Is There a Cure?

Is it Sexually Transmitted?


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The first thing I came across in learning about Lyme is all of the confusing terminology, and I have some medical training so I thought I would have that area covered. The thing that confused me more than anything is all of the different names for the same thing, and all of the abbreviations people in the "Lyme world" use.

Lyme disease is also referred to as:

  • Lyme Borrelia
  • Borreliosis
  • Borrelia burgdorferi (Burgdorfer is the name of the doctor who identified the bug that causes the disease)
  • B. burgdorferi
  • Bb
  • Spirochetes (refers to a type of bacteria that is spiral shaped, of which Lyme is one)
  • Cysts, or cystic form of Lyme

See how confusing it can be if you have many people posting messages to a message board, all using different names for the same thing?


Well, to complicate matters more, there is also another disease called babesiosis, caused by the Babesia organism, that many people who have Lyme also have, and it took me quite awhile to figure out that this was a separate thing, and what names it goes by. The disease caused by the Babesia organism is called babesiosis. Babesia is a prioplasma (a type of protozoan), and so the disease may also be called prioplasmosis. Babesia and babesiosis is sometimes called by the nickname 'Babs'. Although this is a separate bug altogether (a protozoan), many people who are infected with Lyme Disease also have a coinfection of Babesia.

A coinfection is another separate infection that co-exists along with Lyme. It is very common for ticks to carry more than one disease, and many people with Lyme have one or more coinfections of other diseases.

And another B word that can be confused with Lyme is Bartonella, which is another coinfection that is separate from Lyme. Bartonella is also known as "cat scratch fever."

A third common coinfection is Ehrlichiosis, named for Ehrlichia, the organism that causes it.

There is also a lot of talk about Mycoplasmas. There are several different strains of this bacteria, and the gene sequence of one of them has been patented by the US Army. Mycoplasmas have been implicated as a possible cause or contributing factor in Gulf War Syndrome.

It is believed that there are many bacterial infections that are as yet still unidentified. Many people believe that the ticks that carry Lyme commonly carry multiple strains of many different bacteria, so if you are infected with Lyme then you likely have others as well, which can complicate treatment.

Recently, the American Lyme Disease Foundation reported that "with support from the ALDF's Research Program, recent studies at Yale's School of Epidemiology and Public Health revealed a new spirochete resembling B. miyamotoi, which causes relapsing fever in Japan. Further studies indicated that the spirochete is found in 10-20% of tick studied in New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Jersey, and if implicated in human disease, may help explain late-stage symptoms exhibited by some people. In addition, the research indicates there may be other undisclosed microbes lurking within Ixodes scapularis [deer tick]."

And contrary to popular belief, the "deer tick" is not the only tick that carries Lyme. Many different kinds of ticks do, and it is likely that most ticks carry some type of bacterial infection. It is known that the white-footed mouse carries Lyme, and is one source of tick infection. There is also speculation that these bacteria are also carried by fleas, mosquitoes and other insects, although more research is needed in this area.

The Matthew Goss Lyme Disease Information content is no longer being updated by Matthew Goss. A new home on the web for this information is provided by Melissa Kaplan's Herp Care and CND & Lyme Information. Please report any webpage errors to Melissa Kaplan.
Last Update: 10/22/2004