Lyme transmitted sexually: Details of the research paper March 1, 2014 at 3:21pm Lyme transmitted sexually: Details of the research paper: Journal of Investigative Medicine 2014;62:280-281. ISOLATION AND DETECTION OF BORRELIA BURGDORFERI FROM HUMAN VAGINAL AND SEMINAL SECRETIONS Middelveen MJ Bandoski C, Burke J, Sapi E, Mayne PJ, Stricker RB Background: Previous epidemiological and immunological studies suggest that infection with the Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi could be transferred from person to person via intimate human contact without a tick vector (Harvey and Salvato, Med Hypotheses 2003;60:742; Stricker et al, J Investig Med 2004;52:S151). Detecting viable spirochetes in vaginal and seminal secretions would provide additional evidence to support this hypothesis. Methods: Three North American patients with a history of Lyme disease, one male and two female, were selected for the study after informed consent was obtained. Serological testing for B. burgdorferi was performed on all three subjects. Blood and semen or vaginal secretions were used to inoculate BSK-‐H medium for Borrelia culture. Motile spirochetes were detected in cultures by light and/or darkfield microscopy, and cultured spirochete concentrates were subjected to Dieterle silver staining, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and anti-‐B. burgdorferi immunohistochemical staining for further characterization. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing was performed by two independent laboratories for specific identification of the cultured isolates. Positive and negative controls for immunohistochemical staining and PCR were performed in all experiments. Results: Serum antibodies to B. burgdorferi were detected in all three patients. Motile spirochetes were observed in culture fluid inoculated with blood and genital secretions from the three subjects. Morphological features of spirochetes were confirmed by Dieterle staining, SEM and immunohistochemical staining of culture concentrates. PCR testing confirmed that the spirochetes isolated from blood and genital secretions were strains of B. burgdorferi, and PCR subtyping indicated that the strains were B. burgdorferi sensu stricto. Conclusions: The culture of viable B. burgdorferi in genital secretions suggests that Lyme disease could be transmitted by intimate contact from person to person.