Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Testing the Effectiveness of Antibiotics for the Treatment of Lyme Disease



     For me there’s nothing quite as frightening as insects, I can’t quite explain why they frighten me but I can say with some certainly that I’m not a fan, and while this fear of mine is rather irrational there is one insect that is found in the New England area that we should at least be mindful of and, that’s Ixodes scapularis otherwise known as the deer tick. The deer tick is the primary carrier of lyme disease. Lyme disease itself is caused by a bacterium known as Borrelia burgdorferi, this bacteria is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected deer ticks. In the New England area alone there were 450 cases (CDC) of lyme disease in 2013. Traditionally antibiotics such as doxycycline or amoxicillin have been considered the most effective for treating lyme disease, and while these treatments are very effective a remaining 10-12% of patients treated with these antibiotics (CDC) still have lingering symptoms of this disease. These lingering symptoms are known as post-treatment lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS), and as of now theres is no way to test for PTLDS since bacteria cannot be cultured after antibiotic treatment. But researchers at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health are hoping to change that. 

     Researchers say that they have developed a new test for lyme disease that targets these remaining bacteria that may be getting left behind after the normal antibiotic treatment of lyme disease. This test allows researchers to determine the effectiveness of different antibiotic treatments on the killing of bacteria that makes up lyme disease. The test does this by staining the living bacteria that remains after antibiotic treatment green and dead or dying bacteria red. This is significant because it will allow researchers to quickly test many different antibiotics in an effort to find new and more effective treatments options for people with lyme disease. This research is particularly important to me as someone who has witnessed first hand the damaging effects that lyme disease can have on another persons body. My hope is that through this new test we can discover new and better treatments that will eventually lead to an end of worrying about lyme disease altogether.        



David Rains, Group C

5 comments:

  1. Interesting post! I know you mention that this test will allow researchers to identify antibiotics that will be effective against these remaining bacteria, but are there antibiotics that work against them? Since they were "left over" from the previous treatment, are they resistant at all? Or do they just need a different kind of general antibiotic?

    - Carolyn McDonagh

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    1. Well I don't know the extent to which these remaining bacteria are resistant to antibiotic treatment but the idea of this new test is to help find more effective antibiotics for the treatment of lyme disease. So getting back to your question I believe these remaining bacteria do in fact need a different type of antibiotic, so hopefully this new test help find these new antibiotics.

      David Rains, Group C

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  2. Nice post! I've had my concerns about lyme disease, but never knew how to treat it or what exactly caused it other than an infected tick. I'm glad to learn that we're progressing even further on the treatment!

    ~ Mitch

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    1. Thank-you for your comment, it is very exciting indeed to know that we are hopefully coming closer to new and improved treatment for this disease.

      David Rains, Group C

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  3. Nice job! My sister once had to spend a few days in a hospital because she had lyme disease. I think that the ability to quickly see if the bacteria is affected by the antibiotics would be a really good improvement to the treatment of lyme disease.

    -Madison Boone

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