Lyme Disease, Now With Bonus Babesiosis

Two weeks of doxycycline should kill off all the Borrelia bacteria responsible for Lyme disease, but a blood test shows the antibodies:

Lyme test - 2021-11-10
Lyme test – 2021-11-10

Those antibodies will gradually disappear during the next few months and, unfortunately, a past Lyme infection does not prevent future infections.

The tick also injected Babesia parasites which do not respond to antibiotic treatment:

Babesia test - 2021-11-10
Babesia test – 2021-11-10

The “titer” refers to the dilution required to produce a negative test result, with the 1:64 reference titer representing six successive 50% dilutions. My blood required ten 50% dilutions to produce a negative result for the IgG antibodies and (presumably) six 50% dilutions from a 20% base for the IgM antibodies.

As I understand the situation, IgM antibodies appear promptly upon infection and IgG antibodies follow along later, so my reaction to the Babesia infestation was ramping up after two weeks.

In the Bad Old Days™, quinine was the go-to treatment for parasitic infections, but it has a host of horrific side effects at the dosage required for traction against actual diseases; tonic water ain’t gonna get you where you need to go.

The new hotness is atovaquone, arriving as 100 ml of a yellow liquid with the consistency of latex paint, (allegedly) the taste of “tutti fruitti“, and a price (modulo your drug plan) making inkjet printer ink look downright affordable. You might expect to get a 5 ml measuring spoon along the the bottle, but suffice it to say it’s an exceedingly good thing I’m well stocked for printer cartridge refilling.

All of the diseases and drugs list “fatigue” / “drowsiness” / “malaise” as symptoms / side effects and I’m here to tell you knocking off a couple of hours in the recliner during the day does nothing at all to disturb another nine hours in the sack overnight.

A few weeks of low productivity in the Basement Shop™ will definitely count as a successful outcome.

Protip: We need permethrin spray. Lots permethrin spray.

4 thoughts on “Lyme Disease, Now With Bonus Babesiosis

  1. Hope you’re back to normal soon Ed. Best to you and your family for a Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. Hope you feel better, soon.

    My wife Claire has a similar malaise, although not from Lyme but from Epstein-Barr a long time ago, another virus. The Long COVID people talk about (approx 20%-30% of unvaccinated victims get it) has similar but other nasty effects, like cloudy thinking.

    I spend a lot of time out in the field doing moss surveys. Fortunately, 2 of the 4 sites where I work are aquatic, involving standing in streams, one is accessible from a roadside. The last is behind our home, and while we have ticks and deer, we don’t spray anywhere. The turkeys and possums seem to keep them down to a manageable number. It’s also possible our choice of land covering helps … We are replacing our lawn with moss and plantings, and these host a robust collection of insects, spiders, supported by birds. Coyotes and other predators might keep the deer scared away. We don’t see much nibbling of our newly planted river birch trees.

    I usually get a tick on me once or twice a year, but it’s usually because I escort one of our cats on a walk outdoors, and she has one on her fur which, of course, gets to me. And, fortunately, they are the dog ticks.

    1. Scattering tubes of permethrin-soaked cotton balls in places where mice build nests might put a dent in the tick population, but the number of deer wandering through the yard suggests there’s an infinite supply out there. We’ll settle for spraying our clothes, taking prompt showers, and looking for new bumps; alas, hope is not a strategy.

      And I keep hoping the ground cover we planted along the road will eventually take over the entire yard; not mowing it works for me!

Comments are closed.