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Can Lyme Disease be sexually transmitted?

Lyme Disease be sexually transmitted
An erythema migrans rash, often seen in the early stage of Lyme disease
An erythema migrans rash, often seen in the early stage of Lyme disease

Can Lyme Disease be sexually transmitted?

A woman in Ohio claims she contracted Lyme Disease through sexual contact is in all likelihood mistaken, says a Manitoba-based medical professional.

Recently, Ohio resident Jolene Gonzales claimed that she contracted Lyme disease from her husband who had been infected with the disease in 2007.

Gonzales told Steinbach Online that 13 different doctors had diagnosed her husband with various ailments, including mono, multiple sclerosis, and even having a brain tumour before they could finally pin it down to Lyme disease. Gonzales says her husband was even sent to see a psychologist because some thought the issues were not physical. She claimed she then contracted Lyme Disease from her husband through sexual activity.


But Shelley Buchan, a Medical Officer of Health for Southern Health in Manitoba says this is a self-misdiagnosis.

“For sexual transmission, we don’t have any evidence for that,” she said recently. “When people don’t recognize that they’ve had a tick bite and they’re wondering where did they get the infection from, they need to understand that other forms of the tick, which are much different in size, can actually pass the infection on. We don’t have any evidence of person-to-person transmission but we do know that, if you have ticks in the environment and one person is exposed, the potential is that the rest of the family members can also be exposed but with smaller forms of the tick.”

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) supports what Dr. Buchan has to say on its Lyme disease FAQ page and states that after continuous testing to see if the disease could in fact be passed sexually, all tests have come back negative.

Named for its discovery in the town of Lyme, Connecticut in the 1970s, Lyme Disease is notoriously hard to diagnose and left untreated can cause serious damage to the nervous system, liver, heart or joints. Early stage Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics, but there is no vaccine against it.

Experts say the best way to avoid contracting Lyme disease from a tick is to wear closed-toe shoes, use an insect repellent with DEET, and avoid thick brush and grass. One advantage is that ticks can take a long time to begin feeding after attaching themselves to a human host, and so a scan for them after coming in from the outdoors can often prevent a world of hurt.

“As time goes on and as people become more aware of the diseases that come from ticks, this information is becoming more established among health care providers and the public,” adds Dr. Buchan of the case.

The National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCCID) says that Lyme disease has been regularly reported since the early 1980’s. It also has probable cause to believe that the likelihood of a host contracting Lyme disease drastically increases with relation to the time the tick is attached to the skin.

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  1. Misinformation from the experts. Only takes seconds to get lyme if the tick isn’t removed properly. The Lyme bacteria is similar to the syphillus bacteria so it could be sexually transmitted. Since they done have a reliable Lyme test, how can they possibly know it wasn’t transmitted

  2. And scanning for ticks will not prevent a world of hurt until doctors are better educated about Lyme and the co-infections and the medical establishment stops harassing any doctor who prescribed more than 28 days of antibiotics

  3. My Lyme wasn’t properly treated by my doctor. I have been referred to the chronic disease clinic … Their letter says I am accepted into the clinc but the wait for my first appointment will be st least two years and even after that they don’t know how long I must wait. Saw a naturopath , hot 6 month cocktail of antibiotics, mostly cured! So there, take a hike medical experts! You would have denied me that treatment

  4. My wife contracted Lyme disease from a tick bite in approximately 2004. We met in 2007. She spent much of her life before meeting me in Lyme-endemic areas; I spent much of my life in my office in a city with no reported Lyme. Several years after meeting her, I suddenly started having mysterious severe neurological symptoms that no doctor could diagnose. I had every lab test in the book, CT, MRI, you name it, they ran it. All came back clean.
    Meanwhile we tried to find a diagnosis for my wife’s chronic pain and gastrointestinal issues. Finally we gave up on the medical system and went private. We paid about $1000 for a Western Blot which was positive. Suddenly both her and my symptoms made sense. The treatment was successful for me, but has only slowed increase in symptoms for her – possibly because of the 10-year gap between exposure and diagnosis.
    Somehow, I contracted Lyme. Either I’m the unluckiest person in the world and managed to get a nymph tick bite that I didn’t see with no bull’s eye in the middle of a city, or it can be sexually transmitted. Until we have more reliable testing, I don’t see how we can say it can’t be sexually transmitted.
    My suspicion is that I contracted it by performing oral sex.

  5. I have Lyme, the only way i found out was that my wife was getting unexplained rashes and no one could tell her what it was. She went and got a test done for Lyme in the U.S. because the Canadian test sucks and the doctors would not do it because she was not that ill. She had a Lyme trained doctor in Calgary look at her results and basically told her she had to get her husband checked because she believed that the her Lyme came from me. Her test showed she had no co-infections that you get from ticks. I had a few small symptoms so I got the test and it came back positive. Our results where very similar except i had all the co-infections. We are lucky because we caught it early and are treating it while we are still healthy.

  6. If it ain’t mosquitoes they can’t be bothered. Just because the doctor has a certificate that hangs on the wall in his/her office does not mean they are the be all and end all in the knowledge department. Even if he/she was top of the class, the persons who graduated with them were not the top of the class. Remember that when you next go to the doctor.

  7. I find it funny that this is being told by a medical officer of health when the few knowledgeable doctors we had in regards to Lyme had to stop treating. No, it hasn’t been clinically proven, but very few things are when it comes to Lyme. What we need is an accurate test and doctors that are trained in how to diagnose and treat.

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