Lyme Awareness Month: Co Infections Part 2


Powassan Encephalitis or Virus

Powassan virus was first discovered in Powassan, Ontario in a 5-year-old child. The first confirmed case in the United States was in New Jersey in 1970. Being relatively new, there isn’t a whole lot of information about Powassan. However, with ecological changes the pathogen is spreading and it is quickly becoming a public concern. Medical professionals say, ‘Powassan is a virus worse than Lyme.’ I have had several friends share with me numerous articles this year about Powassan and how dangerous it is, none of these friends know that this is co infection that Paige has and we KNOW how dangerous it is.

Powassan can’t be transmitted from human to human (that they know of yet), transmission is usually from a tick bite and can be transmitted in as little as 15 minutes and manifest into a life threatening illness quickly. Powassan infects the central nervous system and can cause encephalitis and meningitis. 10% of Powassan cases are fatal and nearly 50% of survivors will have permanent neurological symptoms. The attack to the central nervous system can cause fever, weakness, headaches, vomiting, confusion, loss of coordination, speech decencies, seizures and memory problems.


Powassan is hard to diagnose (do you see a common thread throughout these posts), as there are only a few labs who offer the testing. Diagnosis is usually based on symptoms and not blood tests. This however keeps the confirmed cases that are reported lower than the actual number.


There is no cure for Powassan. Most patients are treated for the brain swelling and/or meningitis.




Mycoplasma is the stealthiest of all the stealth microbes. It is also the smallest of all bacteria. 4,000 of them can fit into one red blood cell. Mycoplasma is a parasite, which means it needs a host. It does not have a cell wall and can change its shape to fit into areas other bacteria can’t. This allows them to slip into the cell of their host. Not having a cell wall also makes it almost completely resistant to antibiotic treatment. They infect the white blood cells, and once inside it, they travels to all parts of the body and infect other tissue and organs. It can live in the cells without damaging them like other viruses and bacteria.


There are over 200 known mycoplasmas and at least 23 of those can infect humans. It is spread from humans by biting insects, including ticks. 75% of Lyme patients have mycoplasma, it is the #1 co infection. Mycoplasma is 4 times more likely in females than in males.


Two most common types of mycoplasmas are Mycoplasma Fermentans, which is the co-infection to Lyme, and Mycoplasma Pneumonia, which is what causes ‘walking pneumonia’.


Mycoplasma needs vitamins, minerals, fat, carbs and amino acids to survive. It scavenges these from its host since it cannot produce them itself. To gain these resources it generates inflammation in the body by manipulating the immune system.

When the body has inflammation, tissue is broken down and this allows the mycoplasma access to the hosts resources that it needs for survival. Mycoplasma likes the cells of tissue lining, like nasal passages, lungs, vesicles in the brain, synovial lining of joints and the lining of the GI tract. Mycoplasma are very efficient scavengers and can infect any organ in the body.


Like most Lyme co infections, testing is often inaccurate, so clinical diagnosis is needed. Again, this keeps reported cases much lower than those actually infected.


There is no real treatment for mycoplasma, one can only hope to eliminate symptoms, but it will never be cured. This is the same with Lyme Disease. When the immune is weakened or under stress for any reason, mycoplasma and/or Lyme can return and make a patient symptomatic.

Mycoplasma has been found in many cancer tissues. It is also closely linked to ALS and RA. It is also a common Lyme Disease co infection and many of the symptoms associated with Lyme can be caused by mycoplasma. Without starting a debate or discussing conspiracy theories,  some believe that Mycoplasma was released by the government. (google Plum Island) Others believe that is has been used in biological warfare. Gulf War Illness is a mycoplasma that is almost certainly a man-made strain of the bacteria.


Some common symptoms of Mycoplasma Fermentans are night sweats, fatigue, headaches, fever, memory loss, skin rash, diarrhea, depression, serious biological manifestations, white itchy and scaly skin, cracking and peeling skin, yellow coloring of the skin, sensitivity to cold, night terrors, chronic fatigue, chest pain and pressure, heart palpitations, extra or skipped heartbeat, stuttering or stammering, difficulty finding words, poor balance, dizziness, light headedness, change or lack of taste, difficulty swallowing, gagging, loss of interest in food, joint pain, muscle spasms, twitching, loss of strength, numbness and tingling, lack of concentration, mood swings, nervousness, ringing in the ears, hearing loss, hair loss, white coated tongue, mouth and lip sores, depression and anxiety. Of this list, there are only a couple that Paige does not experience on an almost daily basis.




Borrelia Miyamotoi

There are 52 known species of Borrelia, 12 of which are known to cause disease in humans. The major species are Borrelia burgdorferi (the spirochetes we learned about a few days ago), Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii and the newest discovery, Borrelia Miyamotoi. Borrelia is a remarkable creature-it can change its form and hi jack the immune system. It doesn’t stay in the blood stream long, it insinuates itself into other parts of the body that have fewer circulating antibodies, making it harder for antibiotics to reach it.

Miyamotoi was first identified in japan in 1995 and the believe the first case in the United states was in 2011. It is carried and transmitted by the ticks that cause Lyme Disease, anaplasmosis and Babesiosis; so being co infected is very likely.


There is no known commercially test available for Miyamotoi, a blood test is not helpful in diagnosis this strain. Therefore, like so many other co infections, a clinical diagnosis is often required. Since this is fairly new and not much is known about it, most doctors don’t know about it, therefore getting a confirmed diagnosis is very difficult.

Borrelia bacteria has been found in tissues and organs including skin, joints, brain, heart and bladder. It does not appear it circulates in the blood which is why it is so difficult to detect. It is a corkscrew bacterium that travels directly to the cell tissue. The symptoms of Miyamotoi are more severe than burgdorferi.


The most common symptoms are fever, chills, headache, joint pain, fatigue, flu like symptoms and cognitive problems. Less than 10% of patients ever see a rash.

Borrelia headaches tend to hurt in the back of the head. They can feel like your brain is on fire.




The first case of RMSF was recorded in 1896 in Idaho. The mortality rate before the introduction of antibiotics was nearly 30%. Today it is much less, but remains one of the more fatal tick borne illnesses, with a 3-5% mortality rate. It can go from severe to fatal if not treated quickly.

Patients present with a rash usually 2-5 days after being bit. Other symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, nausea, muscle pain and lack of appetite. The symptoms are non-specific and can easily be misdiagnosed.

Common treatments are antibiotics. It is believed that once you have RMSF you are immune for life.



If you want to help Paige and donate to her medical treatments you can do that here. We are currently paying about $2,500 a month out of pocket for her treatments. That is 50% of our income:

If you want to send something to Paige, you can view her Amazon wish list here:

**disclaimer, I am not a doctor or medically trained in anyway. I am just a mom trying to get her daughter well. All information in this blog can found on the internet. All pictures were pulled from google images or Pinterest, I do not claim to have rights to them or that they are my images**

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