Lyme disease is an infection caused by the Borrelia spirochete. Borrelia can be transmitted to humans from vectors like ticks, sandflies, mosquitos and fleas. Borrelia can also be transmitted sexually and can be transferred vertically from a mother to a foetus in utero.
A common misunderstanding is that to have Borreliosis or Lyme Disease, you need to have been bitten by a tick and have a characteristic bull's eye rash at the site of the tick bite. Many patients have no memory of a tick bite and in Australia it is also uncommon to see a bull’s eye rash. Patients may get a small lump or red mark after being bitten by a tick but this is often mistakenly referred to as a ‘tick allergy’.
There is significant and unwarranted denial and controversy about the presence of Borrelia in Australia. In 1962, the species Borrelia queenslandica and Borrelia theileri were isolated in Australian cattle. Borrelia spirochetes have also been found in native rodents and kangaroos. More recently, PCR studies have identified Borrelia burgdorferi sense stricto (Bbss) and sensu lato (Bbsl) in Australian tissue samples. I have hundreds of positive serology and PCR results for Australian patients who either have acute Lyme Disease or chronic Lyme Disease.
It is a myth that there is no laboratory in Australia that can test for Borrelia; there is an excellent laboratory in Sydney that is quality assured by the University of Glasgow and the Quality Control for Molecular Diagnostics program. This Sydney laboratory consistently reports (100.0 %) of the core samples correctly in this program (this means they subject themselves to blind testing of samples and they achieve 100% when their results are compared with the sample results). They have isolated the DNA sequences of Borrelia species and we are finding these bacteria is serum, blood, urine and semen samples of Australians. There are other international laboratories who offer Borrelia testing, however I have not seen anyone perform Borrelia PCR as well as our own Sydney lab.
Myopic deniers (medical or political or know it all) of Borreliosis/Lyme Disease in Australia are uninformed, misinformed, in denial, in ego, or all of the above.