Lyme disease is an infection with one or more species of Borrelia bacteria, however other infections are often present too. We call these additional bugs ‘co-infections’ and they can be bacterial, viral, or parasitic.
Bartonella and Babesia are both common co-infections that can be present in a person with Lyme disease. It’s not unusual for these co-infections to be driving the majority of a person’s symptoms.
This is important to know because the treatment for each is different. For example, Babesia is a red blood cell parasite so antibiotics directed at the Lyme bacteria will not affect it. Often, our doctors only know of Lyme disease as an infection with the bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi.