Chronic infections like Lyme disease are becoming epidemic in the US. According to the CDC, 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed each year. The struggle to find new effective therapies is a real one. Antibiotics often do not adequately kill or control the infection, with a significant negative impact on the digestive tract. Now, a new ‘old’ therapy is emerging as a possible answer for many with chronic Lyme disease: ultraviolet blood irradiation.

Ultraviolet blood irradiation, or UVBI, has been used and studied for many decades. In fact, it dates back into last century, where it was first used to treat patients with Lupus. Ultraviolet blood irradiation is well-known as a disinfecting agent. It is used to sterilize equipment, treatment of city water supply, and can even be used as a swimming pool filter. In 1943 Emmet Knott, one of the early UVBI pioneers, received a patent for his machine that treated bloodstream infections. So this therapy has a long history of use against some of the worst infections.

The UVBI procedure itself works by introducing a butterfly catheter into one of the veins in the elbow. After the patient’s blood is drawn, it travels through a glass cuvette that exposes the entire blood sample to ultraviolet light, killing everything in that sample of blood. The blood then returns to the patient’s bloodstream. Essentially, it works very similarly to a natural vaccine. Because the ultraviolet blood irradiation kills whatever pathogens are in that sample of blood, it is easier for the patient’s immune system to attach to those dead bacteria, viruses, and parasites, and create antibodies. These antibodies can then circulate throughout the patient’s body and kill any remaining live pathogens.

This procedure tends to help people very rapidly. Often, our most resistant patients will see relief within 8-10 treatments, although some require longer. Several patients also opt to receive ongoing maintenance treatments every few weeks or months, depending upon the extent of their infections.

Finding practitioners who use this therapy can be difficult. Currently there are less than 10 offices in the entire state who perform this procedure. For more information on ultraviolet blood irradiation, feel free to call our office, or visit our website, for more info. Our office is one of the few statewide who uses this incredible technology!