Vol. 66, No. 23
June 16, 2017
PDF of this issue
Serious Bacterial Infections Acquired During Treatment of Patients Given a Diagnosis of Chronic Lyme Disease — United States
Weekly / June 16, 2017 / 66(23);607–609
Natalie S. Marzec, MD1; Christina Nelson, MD2; Paul Ravi Waldron, MD3; Brian G. Blackburn, MD4; Syed Hosain, MD5; Tara Greenhow, MD6; Gary M. Green, MD6; Catherine Lomen-Hoerth, MD, PhD7; Marjorie Golden, MD8; Paul S. Mead, MD2 (View author affiliations)View suggested citation
What is already known about this topic?
“Chronic Lyme disease” is a nonspecific diagnosis without a consistent definition that has been given to patients with various symptoms. Treatments offered for chronic Lyme disease, such as prolonged antibiotic or immunoglobulin therapy, lack data supporting effectiveness and are not recommended.
What is added by this report?
Clinicians, health departments, and patients have contacted CDC with reports of serious bacterial infections resulting from treatment of persons who have received a diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease. Five of these cases are described to illustrate complications resulting from unproven treatments, including septic shock, Clostridium difficile colitis, osteodiscitis, abscess, and death.
What are the implications for public health practice?
Clinicians, public health practitioners, and patients should be aware that treatments for chronic Lyme disease lack proof of effectiveness and can result in serious complications. Systematic investigation into the scope and effects of these complications, including the rate and extent of infections and the pathogens associated with these infections, would be helpful to inform clinical practice and fully characterize the risks associated with treatments for chronic Lyme disease.