ALS and MS suspected in woman later diagnosed with Bartonella and Lyme disease


After developing multiple neurologic symptoms following a spider bite, a woman tests positive for Bartonella. Yet, her symptoms are attributed to possible multiple sclerosis (MS) or ALS. Just prior to having hip surgery, additional tests confirm that she is positive not only for Bartonella, but for Lyme disease, as well.

In their article, “Bartonella- and Borrelia-Related Disease Presenting as a Neurological Condition Revealing the Need for Better Diagnostics,” Ericson and colleagues describe the case of a 61-year-old female, who experienced a painful bite while hiking in Minnesota.¹

It was diagnosed as a spider bite because of the two large bite marks present and the painful sensation. One day after the bite, a large blue ring appeared around the bite and the woman developed muscle aches and pains.

The woman was treated with doxycycline for two weeks, which decreased but did not resolve the arthritic pain.

Five months later, her symptoms progressed to include blurry vision, lack of balance, muscle pain, night sweats and insomnia.

At this point, testing for Lyme disease and Bartonella were negative.

After expressing continued concern about having Lyme disease, she was referred to an infectious disease physician, who stated that he “did not believe in persistent Lyme disease.” She was then referred to a neurologist for an MRI.

“At this time, her blood was used in a research study aimed at developing new PCR diagnostic techniques for Bartonella infections,” the authors state.

This new PCR test confirmed the presence of both Bartonella vinsonii and Bartonella henselae.

One year after infection, the patient visited an integrative medicine physician who prescribed clarithromycin and rifampin based on symptoms consistent with a Bartonella infection.

However, her symptoms continued and she was referred to a physical therapist, who prescribed a wheeled walker. Her primary care physician attributed her symptoms to possible ALS or MS.

“She reported to multiple physicians that her hips sounded like popcorn whenever she walked or climbed stairs.”

Hip x-rays revealed a loss of cartilage. She had bilateral hip degeneration, which would require hip replacements.

Prior to surgery, the woman underwent another round of tests for Bartonella. And again, test results confirmed for a second time the presence of Bartonella.

However, in addition, testing revealed “a spirochete-like organism” in a buffy coat smear sample.

“Given her symptomology and the known possibility of co-infections in Lyme disease, the spirochete was suspicious for Borrelia burgdorferi.”

Testing for Lyme disease was positive.

Once the woman began treatment for Lyme disease, her condition improved.

However, “Despite the intermittent use of antibiotics for five years, the patient remains positive for Bartonella henselae and Borrelia burgdorferi.”

If she ceases taking antibiotics, her symptoms recur within 3 months.

Authors Conclude:

  • “This case report illustrates the inadequacy of conventional tests in diagnosing Bartonella spp. infections, and the potential promise of enhanced techniques.”
  • Serology and other antibody-based tests are usually used for Bartonella and Borrelia detection. However, this patient never tested positive through serology but was positive by FISH and PCR testing.
  • “The limitations of serology for detecting an active infection need to be more clearly understood by the medical community.”
  1. Ericson ME, Mozayeni BR, Radovsky L, Bemis LT. Bartonella- and Borrelia-Related Disease Presenting as a Neurological Condition Revealing the Need for Better Diagnostics. Microorganisms. 2024; 12(1):209.

22 Replies to "ALS and MS suspected in woman later diagnosed with Bartonella and Lyme disease"

  • T Allen
    01/30/2024 (9:18 am)

    After seeing research that show the cyst form of Lyme would die, after not reproducing, in a lab situation after 3 years I decided to test the theory on myself. For Lyme, I took herbal antibiotics; Cat’s claw and Otoba bark plus resveratrol (and other supporting herbs) NON STOP for 4 years before my symptoms totally subsided. At the same time I took Sida acuta and Houytonia NON STOP for Bartonella. I stopped that protocol after about 3 years because the bart symptoms had subsided and I was becoming allergic to the houytonia (runny nose). I had no symptoms of either for over two years but was bitten again a few times during that time. With every bite I do the CC/Otoba for a week. In the last year I have had a few episodes of mild joint pain for a day or two and I take Cryptolesis for a couple of days. (could be arthritis, muscle, ? but when you are paranoid…) I do need to add that after the first 6 months of no symptoms I slowly progressed into moderately severe ME/CFS (chronic fatigue). After 1.5yrs and finally overcoming that (genetically related to thiamine issue) I proceeded to MCAS (histamine intolerance) which may be related to a just discovered cerebral spinal fluid leak. So which of these came first and how they are all related still hasn’t been determined but ME/CFS was definitely the worse followed by Lyme/Bart/?, CSFL, and MCAS. 8+ years after the misdiagnosis and lack of treatment for Anaplasmosis, I count myself VERY lucky right now! Keep searching for the right answer for you and don’t depend on Drs for help!

    • Pj
      01/30/2024 (9:51 am)

      I developed MCAS and chronic fatigue after lyme, babesia and rocky mountain spotted fever. I was in top health before lyme.

  • Mary Baum
    01/30/2024 (8:50 am)

    If more physicians were educated about tick borne illnesses, we might have less chronic lyme, babesia and bartonella cases. Many physicians lack knowledge in this area or refuse to believe what it can do to people.
    There is a great divide among Physicians about tick borne illnesses.

  • Christian
    01/30/2024 (8:11 am)

    Ah, another example of the usual clown show. “He ‘did not believe in persistent Lyme disease.'” Because science is, after all, a type of religion wherein facts are fluid and solely and completely a function of one’s beliefs, right? … right? I hope the patient takes action against this physician-priest. When is this going to change? How many more of us are going to suffer endlessly while attitudes like this are allowed to prevail? Presumably wide-ranging change will not happen until it stings dismissive individual physicians financially on a regular basis, I guess. At this point, I can’t help but think of Plank’s principle (paraphrased): “Science progresses one funeral at a time”.

    At least this patient appears to be in the care of competent physicians at this point. Good for her. I wish her well.

    • P. Stevens
      01/30/2024 (7:38 pm)

      It’s amazing that doctors believe in chronic syphilis but deny the existence of chronic Lyme (Borrelia). The bacteria that causes syphillis and the bacteria that causes Lyme are both spirochetes. (Go figure.)

  • Lesley
    01/30/2024 (6:06 am)

    In the UK people are routinely given a diagnosis that describes some of their symptoms, for example MS, ME, or Fibromyalgia, or told (particularly if they are female) that they are imagining the symptoms, or the symptoms are caused by an inability to manage stress, and no further investigations take place. Occasionally some form of “Lyme” test is used, but other TBDs are not considered. Results from blood tests originating from outside the NHS are dismissed, and negative “Lyme” tests from within the NHS are viewed as conclusive. I suspect there are thousands of people here with untreated TBDs and inaccurate diagnoses.

    • Carolyn Glassford Ames
      01/30/2024 (6:29 am)

      Exactly the same in Canada. Good point about being female results in more gaslighting than males. It’s like the medical community is stuck in Victorian times, despite the excellent improvement in the representation of women in MDs present in the system. Reliable testing is urgently needed, along with improved education of MDs in tick borne diseases

  • Regina
    01/30/2024 (4:44 am)

    This sounds so much like my continuing to find help, thinking I had MS or some terrible disease. I finally found a dr who tested me to find I too had bartonella and Lyme disease. I’ve been on antibiotics off and on now for 5 years and if I get off it recurs.

    • Donna
      02/03/2024 (7:36 am)

      Not to make things even more difficult but there is a Canadian Herbalist on You Tube that was diagnosed with Lyme.No matter what he did to cure it, it wasn’t budging until he discovered that 1. he is a Targeted Individual & 2. it is Nano form all of the Could seeding or Chemtrails our Governments are doing to us all so Lyme may actually be AI in nano form. My hubby made me one of his devices & it is more powerful that I ever expected. I was dxd with MS supposedly 18+ years ago, have Bulls eye rashes but decided to try this anti nano thing cuz it is less invasive than anything MDs want to do. Just wanted to inform you of this possibility when the antibiotics don’t heal you. Good luck. Here is the Canadian herbalist –

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