The presence of Borrelia burgdorferi DNA was established by PCR from urine samples of 97 patients clinically diagnosed as presenting with symptoms of chronic
Lyme disease. All patients had shown erythema chronica migrans following a deer tick bite. Most of the patients had been antibiotic-treated for extended periods of time. We used three sets of primer pairs with DNA sequences for the gene coding of outer surface protein A (OspA) and of a genomic sequence of B. burgdorferi to study samples of physician-referred patients from the mideastern USA. Controls from 62 healthy volunteers of the same geographic areas were routinely carried through the procedures in parallel with patients’ samples. Of the 97 patients, 72 (74.2%) were found with positive PCR and the rest with negative PCR. The 62 healthy volunteers were PCR negative. It is proposed that a sizeable group of patients diagnosed on clinical grounds as having chronic
Lyme disease may still excrete Borrelia DNA, and may do so in spite of intensive antibiotic treatment.