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Chronic Lyme Disease: When Symptoms Persist

Chronic Lyme Disease: When Symptoms Persist

Lyme disease can survive for nearly a month, even if you’re taking antibiotics.

You know that stubborn bacterial infection that just won’t go away? It could be Lyme disease. A study in PlosOne reveals that Lyme infections can linger even after you’ve taken long-term antibiotics. That’s because Lyme bacteria can survive the typical 28-day course of antibiotics. In fact, surviving bacteria can migrate to organs like the heart and brain, even when tests for the bacteria show negative results.

If you’ve been treated for Lyme disease, but fatigue, joint pain, confusion, numbness, heart problems or other mystery symptoms persist, you’re not crazy. Your symptoms may be related to a continuing Lyme infection. So, make sure your doctor does another blood test, and that you aren’t misdiagnosed with another disease. It may be that Lyme disease is the cause of your symptoms and you need continued, aggressive treatment, such as IV antibiotics or other therapies for arthritis or neurological conditions.

Medically reviewed in March 2020.

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