Lyme Exposure Correlates with COVID Severity

Figure 4. From Science Reports, Szewczyk‑Dąbrowska, A., et al. (2022). “Risks in COVID-19 are linked to a history of tick bites and related infections.”

Scientific Reports, (Szewczyk-Dąbrowska, A., et al.), published “Correlation between COVID-19 severity and previous exposure of patients to Borrelia spp.” on September 24, 2022. Researchers found an association between the severity of the course of COVID infection in patients that also had evidence of past Lyme disease infection.

Investigators identified COVID-positive patients that also had exposure to Lyme through serological testing of patients’ blood for multi-antigens. They evaluated three groups of patients: patients with severe COVID requiring hospitalizations, those with asymptomatic-mild COVID, as well patients that had not been infected by COVID. Findings showed that patients with increased levels of Lyme IgG antibodies strongly correlated with increased COVID illness severity and hospitalizations. In fact, all hospitalized patients in the study tested IgG antibody positive for Borrelia spp

Though the understanding of this link is still not clear, evidence from this research suggests that previous Lyme disease infections play a role in COVID risk and severity of illness. The authors suggest that screening for Lyme antibodies may help assess patients that are at higher risk for hospitalization due to COVID.

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