There is no convincing evidence that classic Lyme disease occurs in Australia, nor is there evidence that the causative agent, Borrelia burgdorferi, is found in Australian animals or ticks.
Lyme disease, however, can be acquired overseas but diagnosed in Australia; most people presenting with laboratory-confirmed Lyme disease in Australia were infected in Europe. Despite the lack of evidence that Lyme disease can be acquired in Australia, growing numbers of patients, their supporters, and some politicians demand diagnoses and treatment according to the protocols of the “chronic Lyme disease” school of thought.
Antibiotic therapy for chronic “Lyme disease-like illness” can cause harm to both the individual (eg, cannula-related intravenous sepsis) and the broader community (increased antimicrobial resistance rates). Until there is strong evidence from well performed clinical studies that bacteria present in Australia cause a chronic debilitating illness that responds to prolonged antibiotics, treating patients with “Lyme disease-like illness” with prolonged antibiotic therapy is unjustified, and is likely to do much more harm than good.