Borrelia burgdorferi DNA in the urine of treated patients with chronic Lyme disease symptoms. A PCR study of 97 cases

Infection. 1996 Sep-Oct;24(5):347-53. doi: 10.1007/BF01716077.


The presence of Borrelia burgdorferi DNA was established by PCR from urine samples of 97 patients clinically diagnosed as presenting with symptoms of chronic Lyme disease. All patients had shown erythema chronica migrans following a deer tick bite. Most of the patients had been antibiotic-treated for extended periods of time. We used three sets of primer pairs with DNA sequences for the gene coding of outer surface protein A (OspA) and of a genomic sequence of B. burgdorferi to study samples of physician-referred patients from the mideastern USA. Controls from 62 healthy volunteers of the same geographic areas were routinely carried through the procedures in parallel with patients' samples. Of the 97 patients, 72 (74.2%) were found with positive PCR and the rest with negative PCR. The 62 healthy volunteers were PCR negative. It is proposed that a sizeable group of patients diagnosed on clinical grounds as having chronic Lyme disease may still excrete Borrelia DNA, and may do so in spite of intensive antibiotic treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antigens, Surface / genetics
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Vaccines
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / genetics*
  • Borrelia burgdorferi Group / isolation & purification*
  • Chronic Disease
  • DNA, Bacterial / isolation & purification*
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel
  • Genome, Bacterial
  • Humans
  • Lipoproteins*
  • Lyme Disease / drug therapy
  • Lyme Disease / epidemiology
  • Lyme Disease / genetics*
  • Lyme Disease / urine
  • Molecular Epidemiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antigens, Surface
  • Bacterial Outer Membrane Proteins
  • Bacterial Vaccines
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Lipoproteins
  • OspA protein

Associated data

  • GENBANK/X14407