B. burgdorferi Culture

Frederick W Hyde hydex004 at gold.tc.umn.edu
Tue Nov 14 12:49:03 EST 1995

monkeypa at dircon.co.uk (Palund) writes:

>    B. burgdorferi isolation via culture from any sample is the most
>definite way to prove that the diagnosis of Lyme borreliosis is correct.
>If patient has neurological symptoms due to LB, analysis of spinal fluid
>should be always attempted. I would suggest not only antibody analysis,
>but culture and PCR of CSF as well. It is best to subject the sample to
>all available testing techniques, since its an invasive procedure and
>antibodies are not 100% reliable.

It is true that a serological test is not definitive, and there have been 
several attempts at developing new testing methods that rely on other 
fluids/matrices. I worked on development of a rapid urine assay using 
high affinity MAbs about 10 years ago, and was able to detect down to 
about 3000 organisms/organism parts/ml. The main problem with doing any 
other testing for Bb is that the bacteremia involved is exceedingly 
transient and on such low concentrations (unlike the bacteremias of 
other Borrelia, which can be as high as 10^9/ml that even culture 
techniques are not reliable; time to develop a "positive" culture test 
may take as long as 2-3 weeks. The virulent organisms tend to grow very slowly as opposed 
to the avirulent lab-adapted strains commonly used by researchers. The 
bacteremia is usually most noticeable between days 3 and 10 
post-infection, whereafter the organisms invade the tissues and mostly 
come out only during a "flare" (arthritis, etc).  

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