Sam Donta a ME/CFS doctor realised the similarity of the symptoms in his patients with those of patients with Lyme disease. Now he treats ME/CFS and Lyme Disease patients and has presented on the subject on a number of occasions.
This list below was at one of his presentations found as a pdf through Google. This program won't allow the columns to space but it is still possible to see the many likenesses.
Chronic Lyme and Lyme-like Illnesses
Symptom Lyme CFS Fibro GWI
DIAGNOSIS - The diagnosis rests heavily on the clinical symptomatology. When there are clinical signs, e.g. rash, aseptic meningitis, optic neuritis, arthritis, an appropriate differential diagnosis must be pursued. On a clinical basis, "chronic fatigue syndrome" or "fibromyalgia" cannot be readily distinguished from chronic Lyme Disease. Indeed, accumulating experience suggests that Lyme Disease may be a frequent cause of fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue (8,12). Other microbes have been proposed as causative agents of multisymptom disorders that are being termed chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, especially more recently recognized mycoplasma species such as M.fermentans and M.genitalium, but definitive proof of cause and effect has not yet been established (6, 23).
Dr. Sam Donta: The Interface of Chronic Lyme Disease, CFS and FM
by Bonnie Gorman RN
Questions and answers
Q: If the Lyme lab tests are inadequate and the symptoms are the same as CFS and FM, why not just treat all CFS and FM patients with the Lyme protocol?
A: You want to be conservative with your medicines. I think we have enough info now to tell CFS and FM patients to consider going on a 3-6 month trial of antibiotics and see if you're better. Consider all the other meds you are already taking that just treat symptoms and not the cause of your illness. They all have side-effects that can be hazardous. Is it worth it to you to consider a primary treatment aimed at a cause? There will be resistance from some MDs. They need to be educated. Your primary MD will need to consult an LD specialist re the treatment protocol.
Q: Do patients with Lyme disease also have bowel and bladder problems like interstitial cystitis (IS) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)? How are they affected by treatment?
A: Yes, many patients with Lyme have IS and IBS. He was surprised how much the bowel disorders affected treatment. Tetracycline generally helps the IBS. Plaquenil can sometimes irritate the bowel.
Q: I have received different results for the Western blot Lyme test. Why?
A: Lyme test results are not reproducible from one lab to the next. You will get different findings from different labs. The Western blot is not a great test for Lyme since the responses to Lyme bacteria are already very small responses.
Q: I've been sick for 15 years with CFS and my Lyme test was negative. Is there any value in treating now?
A: If the test was negative but you have the complex of symptoms and there is no other obvious answer, why not give antibiotics a try?