Target Viruses, Mycoplasma, & Chlamydia in Lyme? Maybe Not

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Chlamydia, Mycoplasma, chronic Viruses in Lyme Image from Marty Ross MD

Even Healthy People Are Full of Germs

We are filled with bacteria and viruses that live in us, not causing any problems, kept under control by the immune system. Based on my experience, it is not always necessary to target these infections in a Lyme treatment with antibiotics or antivirals.

These common infections can include various kinds of mycoplasma and chlamydia bacteria. They also include viruses like the mono virus (EBV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), Human Herpes Virus types 6 and 8 (HHV-6 and HHV-8), Parvovirus B-19, and Herpes Simplex Viruses (HSV). Often in Lyme these infections are latent, not active at all. But if physicians test for them, the antibodies or even dna genetic material by PCR method will be positive. These tests do not prove the germs are active or even causing any problems.

Marty Ross MD Discusses Common Infections in Lyme

This video was recorded during Conversations with Marty Ross MD.

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Science and Chlamydia, Mycoplasma, & Viruses in Lyme

There is very limited science about this. From my review it appears about 5% of healthy people have evidence of chlamydia pneumoniae, or mycoplasma living in them. For EBV and HHV-6 nearly 90% of all people have positive testing as an adult. CMV testing is positive in 60% of adults in the developed world.

So these so called Lyme disease co-infections, are very common infections that occur largely in healthy people. However, research by Garth Nicolson PhD, suggests these infections, especially chlamydia and mycoplasma are found in higher rates in people with fatiguing illnesses compared to people without fatigue. So, it is possible these common infections that live in healthy people, might contribute to the ongoing health problems in a person living with chronic Lyme disease.

An Approach to Chronic Virus Infections, Chlamydia & Mycoplasma in Lyme

First Fix The Immune System

As I point out above, positive testing for any of these infections does not prove they are causing a problem. At worse, suppressed by Lyme germs, it is likely the immune system is not able to keep these infections under control. So an approach to treating these germs, should include steps to boost the immune system.

This means:

  • getting Lyme and the common high priority co-infections of Bartonella, Babesia, Anaplasma, and Ehrlichia under control.
  • getting rid of yeast overgrowth in the intestines,
  • getting sleep,
  • lowering inflammation cytokines,
  • balancing the adrenals and thyroid,
  • using herbs to help the body deal with stress called adaptogens,
  • doing basic detox, and
  • eating a healthy diet.

For information about how to do this follow the first 12 steps in the Ross Lyme Support Protocol. These steps are designed to kill the highest priority infections and to boost the immune system.

Based on my experience practicing in Seattle, this approach works about 90% of the time.

When to Target Viruses with Antivirals

It may be a good idea to use targeted antiviral medications after six to nine months following the Ross Lyme Support Protocol when there is no overall improvement. For more information about when to treat viruses and what to use to kill them see When & How to Treat Viruses in Lyme: A Brief Guide.

When to target Chlamydia and Mycoplasma with Antibiotics

As a person treats Lyme using antibiotics to target Lyme that lives in cells (intracellular Lyme), they are also targeting Chlamydia and Mycoplasma. These intracellular antibiotics can include azithromycin, clarithromycin, doxycycline, tetracycline, minocycline, rifampin, otoba bark, cat’s claw, sida acuta, and houttuynia. For more information about these prescription and herbal antibiotics see A Lyme Disease Antibiotic Guide and Kills Bartonella: A Brief Guide.


The ideas and recommendations on this website and in this guideline are for informational purposes only. For more information about this, see the sitewide Terms & Conditions.


View Citations

  1. Campadelli-Fiume G, Mirandola P, Menotti L. Human Herpesvirus 6: an emerging pathogen. Emerging Infectious Diseases. 1999;5(3):353-366. doi:10.3201/eid0503.990306 (View)
  2. Griffiths P, Baraniak I, Reeves M. (2015). The pathogenesis of human cytomegalovirus. J. Pathol. 2015;235: 288-297. doi:10.1002/path.4437 (View)
  3. Waites KB, Talkington DF. Mycoplasma pneumoniae and its role as a human pathogen. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2004;17(4):697–728. doi:10.1128/CMR.17.4.697-728.2004 (View)
  4. Balin BJ, Gérard HC, Arking EJ, Appelt DM, Branigan PJ, Abrams JT, Whittum-Hudson JA, Hudson AP. Identification and localization of Chlamydia pneumoniae in the Alzheimer's brain. Med Microbiol Immunol. 1998 Jun; 187(1):23-42.. (View)
  5. Nicolson GL., Gan R. and HAIER, J. Multiple co‐infections (Mycoplasma, Chlamydia, human herpes virus‐6) in blood of chronic fatigue syndrome patients: association with signs and symptoms. APMIS. 2003;111:557-566. doi:10.1034/j.1600-0463.2003.1110504.x (View)
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About the Author

Marty Ross, MD is a passionate Lyme disease educator and clinical expert. He helps Lyme sufferers and their physicians see what really works based on his review of the science and extensive real-world experience. Dr. Ross is licensed to practice medicine in Washington State (License: MD00033296) where he has treated thousands of Lyme disease patients in his Seattle practice. 

Marty Ross, MD is a graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine and Georgetown University Family Medicine Residency. He is a member of the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS) and The Institute for Functional Medicine.

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