Send to

Choose Destination
Med Hypotheses. 2006;67(4):860-4. Epub 2006 Jun 30.

Is Lyme disease always poly microbial?--The jigsaw hypothesis.

Author information

University of Wales, College of Medicine, Accident and Emergency, Heath Park, Cardiff United Kingdom, Cardiff, United Kingdom.


Lyme disease is considered to be caused by Borrelia species of bacteria but slowly evidence is accumulating which suggests that Lyme disease is a far more complex condition than Borreliosis alone. This hypothesis suggests that it may be more appropriate to regard Lyme disease as a tick borne disease complex. Over recent years numerous different microbes have been found in ticks which are known to be zoonotic and can coinfect the human host. The hypothesis suggests that multiple coinfections are invariably present in the clinical syndromes associated with Lyme disease and it is suggested that these act synergistically in complex ways. It may be that patterns of coinfection and host factors are the main determinants of the variable clinical features of Lyme disease rather than Borrelia types. An analogy with a jigsaw puzzle is presented with pieces representing Borreliae, coinfections and host factors. It is suggested that many pieces of the puzzle are missing and our knowledge of how the pieces fit together is rudimentary. It is hoped that the hypothesis will help our understanding of this complex, enigmatic condition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center