The Role of Viruses in Chronic Lyme Disease
Many people are familiar with the role of co-infections in Lyme disease including Babesia, Bartonella and Ehrlichia. Of equal importance is the part that chronic and reactivated viral infections play. Immune suppression is common in Chronic Lyme disease. As a result of this decreased immune activity viral infections can reactivate.
Most of the general population has been exposed to a number of viruses over their lifetime. These viruses include EBV, CMV, Coxsackie, HHV6, HSV and Parvovirus. Chronic viral infections can be one of the reasons patients with Lyme don’t respond to treatment. These viruses can cause fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and even neurological symptoms. Furthermore the viruses can also affect the immune system by targeting natural killer cells, lymphocytes and other immune cells adding another layer of challenges to restoring a patient’s health. Testing for chronic viral infections is challenging, but new testing techniques such as Elispot testing can help to identify if viruses are reactivated. Early antigen D antibodies can also be useful to detect reactivated Epstein Barr Virus.
Treatment of Chronic Viruses
The treatment of chronic viruses is important in order for patients with Lyme disease to recover. Anti-viral medications may be of limited use with chronic viral infections. Naturopathic medicine has many effective tools to treat viruses and support the immune system. Antiviral herbs such as olive leaf extract, and black cumin seed help to decrease viral load. Immune supportive naturopathic supplements are also useful to help restore immune function, so your body can once again help to manage viral infections. Naturopathic IV therapies can also be extremely helpful in the treatment of chronic viral infections. Oxidative IV therapies such as ozone therapy have both an antiviral and immune supportive effect.