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Could a Lyme Relapse Occur 10 Years Later?

Posted by Symptomz

I was treated for Lyme over 10 years ago (in NY). I had the rash, tested positive, etc. Even after supposedly being "clean," I continued to have joint pain. I finally found a fix for this 2 years ago but over the past 6 months things have deteriorated. I have lost close to 40 pounds, developed tinnitus, suffer significant digestive issues, numbness in my legs, discoloring (red to purple) and swelling in my feet, and much more. I have been through a huge battery of tests with nothing conclusive and it just recently dawned on me that this might actually be the Lyme. Is it possible to have had Lyme Disease all this time and that it could just seriously act up again over 10 years after my infection?

Answers (3)
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T Patient ExpertHealth Maven

Hi there-

I'm sorry to hear how poorly you're feeling. It's good that you have been tested for other things just to rule them out.

The short answer to your question is yes, lyme can reoccur years after an infection was treated. It's also possible that you were reinfected at some point. Many people don't notice a rash.

I would recommend that you find a LLMD (Lyme literate medical doctor) and get tested for lyme and coinfections.

Feel free to ask more questions!

I wish you a speedy recovery.


I am so sorry you are not feeling well... hope you can get it under control very soon, as being sick is NO FUN! The good news is you can BEAT IT!

It shows that these are all relapsing Fever organisms and that all we should be looking for in detection (antibody diagnosis methods) is Borreliae (Genus)-specific-flagellin. B. burgdorferi is in the relapsing fever category in the taxonomy database at the NIH.

Look here>:
Please take this .pdf as the NIH has removed it from their site.

Below is taken from Judith Miklossy's site:

"Spirochetes are Gram negative free-living or host-associated helical bacteria, possessing periplasmic fibrils or internal flagellae, which are unique for these microorganisms. They are widespread in aquatic environments and are the causative agents of such important human diseases as e.g. syphilis, Lyme disease, periodontitis, ulcerative gingivitis, and leptospirosis. Treponema pallidum, the causative agent of syphilis, is a tightly spiralled spirochete (about 0.1 μm x 20 μm) transmitted by sexual contact. Treponema pallidum has not yet been grown in synthetic media alone, although it has long been propagated in the testes of rabbits and cell monolayer systems as reviewed by Cox (1994).
Borrelia burgdorferi, which can be cultivated in a synthetic medium, is a larger (0.1-0.3 μm x 30 μm) spirochete, which is transmitted by tick bites to humans and causes Lyme disease. They both belong to the family Spirochaetaceae.                         
The similarity of the clinical and pathological manifestations of syphilis and Lyme disease, caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, (Burgdorfer et al., 1982) is well established (Fallon and Nields, 1994). Borrelia burgdorferi can also persist in the infected host tissue and play a role in chronic neuro-psychiatric disorders. Dementia, including subacute presenile dementia, has been reported to occur not only in syphilis but also in Lyme disease (Dupuis, 1988). Improvement of the cognitive decline following antibiotic therapy was repeatedly reported in both chronic neurosyphilis and Lyme disease. Figure: Drawing of S. Kasas. It shows the structure of the "endo-flagellae" or periaxial fibrils and the insertion pores characteristic of spirochetes."

This is pretty much exactly what happened for me-- was bitten, treated it (inadequately... but enough to chase the bugs into hiding in my system) still had a lot of joint pain, and 8 years later it re-emerged when I was under a lot of stress. Took 5 years to figure out what was up again and I've been treating (off and on) again for about 2 years. Good luck! Finding the right medical support is relaly important.
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