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Implications of gender in chronic Lyme disease - Source: Journal of Womens Health, Jun 2009

  [ 26 votes ]   [ 2 Comments ]
By Gary P Wormser, MD, Eugene D Shapiro, MD • • June 12, 2009

"Post-Lyme disease syndrome" refers to prolonged subjective symptoms after antibiotic treatment and resolution of an objective manifestation of Borrelia burgdorferi infection (Lyme disease).

"Chronic Lyme disease" is a vaguely defined term that has been applied to patients with unexplained prolonged subjective symptoms, whether or not there was or is evidence of B. burgdorferi infection.

Objective: To determine if the population of patients with chronic Lyme disease differs from the populations of patients with either Lyme disease or post-Lyme disease syndrome by examining the gender of patients with these diagnoses.

Methods: Data on gender were compiled in this cross-sectional study based on a systematic review of published studies of antibiotic treatment in United States patients with post-Lyme disease syndrome (n = 184) or chronic Lyme disease (n = 490), and on cases of adults with Lyme disease reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2003 to 2005 (n = 43,282).

Results: Patients with chronic Lyme disease were significantly more likely to be female than were patients diagnosed with either Lyme disease (odds ratio [OR] 2.42, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.98-2.94, p < 0.0001) or with post-Lyme disease syndrome (OR 2.32, 95% CI 1.62-3.34, p < 0.0001). [Note: an OR of 1.0 would indicate no difference in frequency between groups. So the population with “chronic Lyme” was 142% more likely to be female than the population with Lyme disease and 132% more likely than those with post-Lyme syndrome.]

Conclusions: Patients with chronic Lyme disease differ with regard to gender from those with either B. burgdorferi infection or post-Lyme disease syndrome.

This finding suggests that illnesses with a female preponderance, such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or depression, may be misdiagnosed as chronic Lyme disease.

Source: Journal of Womens Health, Jun 2009;18(6):831-4. PMID: 19514824 by Wormser GP, Shapiro ED. Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York; Departments of Pediatrics, Epidemiology and Public Health, and Investigative Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, New Haven, Connecticut. USA. [E-mail:]

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Article Comments Post a Comment

IDSA hogwash
Posted by: rck213
Jun 17, 2009
Look at the names of those presenting this "study" I am a late stage lyme patient who was misdiagnosed for years as CFIDS, lived with limitations and strange symptoms for over 20 years until I became so ill I could no longer function. I just found out I have Lyme in October 2008 It is because of the above mentioned "MDs" that many of us have been allowed to progress to this stage of illness. I do not want to be ill, I have tried hard my entire life to live a healthy lifestyle and to be a productive member of society. There is research out there that shows how Lyme can hide for years, how it destroys the immune system, connective tissue, buries itself in the central nervous system. It is a smarter cousin of Syphilis, why would anyone think it would just go away if untreated or undertreated?
Reply Reply

I agree Rck
Posted by: Renae610
Sep 20, 2009
To everyone with Lyme and chronic illness, Read Beating Lyme Disease by Dr. David Jernigan. Order it from


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