A large number of chronically ill Lyme patients have positive (often highly positive) Epstein Barr virus serology. Do ticks pass on the virus, or is it an opportunistic infection that appears and spikes to high levels in those with a weakened immune system, or do chronic Lyme disease patients just have really bad luck? More research and studies are needed to find answers to these questions.
CDC article on Epstein Barr Virus- http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/diseases/ebv.htm
Med Hypotheses. 2007;69(1):117-9. Epub 2007 Jan 2.
Lyme borreliosis and multiple sclerosis are associated with primary effusion lymphoma.
Department of Dermatovenerology, Rijeka University Hospital, Kresimirova 42, 51000 Rijeka, Croatia.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease of the central nervous system characterized by chronic inflammation and demyelination. Studies suggested that the viral, especially Epstein-Barr virus infection, and bacterial infections, especially Borrelia burgdorferi infection, play a role in etiology of MS. MS prevalence parallels the distribution of the Lyme disease pathogen B. burgdorferi.
Criteria used for diagnosis of MS can also be fulfilled in other conditions such as Lyme disease, a multisystem disorder resulting from infection by the tick-borne spirochete, B. burgdorferi. In the late period of Lyme disease demyelinating involvement of central nervous system can develop and MS can be erroneously diagnosed.
A Lyme borreliosis can mimick central nervous system lymphoma. Also, B. burgdorferi has been implicated not only in etiology of MS, but also in etiology of lymphoma. Studies suggested that there is an increased risk of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in patients, who had a history of autoimmune diseases such as MS and that both non-Hodgkin's lymphomas and Hodgkin's disease were associated with Epstein-Barr virus infection.
A small group of lymphomas called primary effusion lymphomas (PEL) is a recently individualized form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (WHO classification) that exhibit exclusive or dominant involvement of serous cavities, without a detectable solid tumor mass.
These lymphomas have also been linked to Epstein-Barr virus and human herpes virus type 8 infections but virus negative cases have been described. Therefore, we propose that MS and neuroborreliosis are linked to central nervous system primary effusion lymphomas. As a first step in confirming or refuting our hypotheses, we suggest a thorough study of CSF in the patients suspected for the diagnosis of MS and Lyme borreliosis.
PMID: 17197115 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Folia Biol (Praha). 2003;49(1):40-8.
Interaction of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato with Epstein-Barr virus in lymphoblastoid cells.
National Reference Laboratory on Borreliosis, Electron Microscopy, National Institute of Public Health, Prague, Czech Republic.
Since the possibility of interruption of latent EBV infection has been suggested by the induction of the lytic virus cycle with chemical substances, other viruses, and by immunosuppression, we hypothesized that the same effect might happen in B. burgdorferi sensu lato infection as happens in Lyme disease patients with positive serology for both agents. We have observed EBV replication in lymphoblastoid cells after superinfection with B. garinii and B. afzelii strains after 1 and 4 h of their interaction.
We found that viral and borrelial antigens persisted in the lymphoblasts for 3 and 4 days. Morphological and functional transformation of both agents facilitate their transfer to daughter cells. Association with lymphoblasts and internalization of B. garinii by tube phagocytosis increased replication of viruses more successfully than B. afzelii and chemical inductors.
Demonstration of such findings must be interpreted cautiously, but may prove a mixed borrelial and viral cause of severe neurological disease.
PMID: 12630667 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]