Chronic Lyme Disease or (Really) Chronic Fatigue?

Most people who think they have a long-lasting form of Lyme disease may actually have chronic fatigue syndrome, suggests a panel of UK infectious disease experts meeting on 09 October 2019.

Lyme disease is a potentially serious infection caused by bacteria passed on by tick bites.

If untreated, it can lead to fatigue, joint pain and memory problems.

However, if diagnosed in time, it can be quashed with a short course of antibiotics.

Some people who have persistent symptoms believe that they have a long-term infection, or chronic Lyme disease, and take long courses of antibiotics.

This can lead to other infections such as sepsis.

There is a large overlap in symptoms ascribed to chronic Lyme and those of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

In Australia, for example, there are a large number of patients in whom Lyme disease bacteria has not been detected.

CFS is itself controversial, with some suggesting it involves immune system problems, perhaps triggered by an infection, while others believe psychological factors contribute.

There is much stigma associated with chronic fatigue, with treatment and support network for CFS not being great. For example, some medical professionals still do not believe there is any Lyme disease in the UK, labelling/misdiagnosing them with CFS.


Wilson, C. (2019) Chronic Lyme Disease May Really be Chronic Fatigue. New Scientist. 19 October 2019, pp.12.


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