New study shows that detection of Borrelia prophages, equated as “footprints” of Borrelia, can be used to identify the bacteria due to the close correlation between them and the exact prophages found in each Borrelia host. Evidence presented in this study shows that prophages can be released outside the bacterial cell following stressors such as antibiotic use and are easier to detect than the bacteria itself.
Testing for prophages rather than the bacteria in blood samples, when bacteria may not be present or present in very low numbers, yields a higher chance of detection. The study further states that this test can be developed not only as a diagnostic marker for accurate identification of Lyme disease, but also to differentiate Lyme disease from related infections and co–infections such as relapsing fever.
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