Lyme disease is caused by bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi that are transmitted to humans through a bite from an infected blacklegged tick.
You may be wondering: What exactly is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is an illness caused by a bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi that are transmitted to humans through a bite from an infected blacklegged tick. These ticks, also known as deer ticks, are commonly found in wooded or grassy areas of the Northeast and upper Midwest. Ticks often live on deer and rodents. Once they have fed on these animals, they can then transfer the bacteria to other animals and people when they bite them.
Ticks prefer warm, moist areas of the skin for attaching to their host’s body; if placed on skin covered with clothing, they will crawl towards exposed skin in search of such a location before biting. It typically takes from 36 to 48 hours for a tick that transmits Lyme disease bacteria to attach itself and start feeding on its host before it can cause infection (transmission). Therefore, you can decrease your chance of infection by checking daily for ticks during periods when ticks are most active (April – September) and promptly removing attached ticks if you find any.
Early Symptoms Include:
- A rash that appears in 70 to 90 percent of Lyme disease cases. It’s circular, called “erythema migrans,” and often expands over the course of several days.
- Flu-like symptoms, including headache and chills
- Neurological problems, such as temporary paralysis in one side of the face (Bell’s palsy)
1) Rash – The most common early sign of Lyme disease is the appearance of an expanding red area of the skin that often resembles a bull’s-eye. It first appears at the site of a tick bite after a delay of 3 to 30 days. A small red bump may appear at the bite site. Erythema migrans (EM) rash occurs in approximately 80% of infected persons.
The rash expands over a period of days and can reach up to 12 inches (30 centimeters) across, although most are much smaller. The center of the rash may clear as it enlarges, resulting in a bull’s-eye appearance. The EM rash is not painful or itchy, but it can be warm to the touch. It usually lasts for 3 to 5 weeks.
If you develop a red area of the skin that doesn’t disappear within about 1 month or becomes larger, your doctor should evaluate it for Lyme disease even if you don’t remember having been bitten by a tick. If an early diagnosis is made, appropriate treatment reduces the risk of more serious complications from the infection.
Lyme arthritis causes painful swelling and inflammation in large joints, especially in the knees.
2) Fever — The presence of fever may be mild, but it should not be ignored.
A fever is a sign that you are sick. It can be caused by an infection or inflammation, and your body is trying to fight off the illness or irritation.
While many fevers can be benign, a fever may also be a sign of something more serious–such as an acute or chronic illness–so it’s important to pay attention when you have a fever.
3) Flu-like symptoms — These may include fatigue, headache, stiff neck, muscle/joint aches and swollen lymph nodes.
Flu-like symptoms: This can be the first sign of Lyme disease. They may include fatigue, headache, stiff neck, muscle/joint aches and swollen lymph nodes. If you experience these symptoms, contact your doctor. The sooner treatment begins, the better your chances of recovery.
4) Neurological problems — These include meningitis (inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord), Bell’s palsy (facial paralysis), numbness or tingling in the hands or feet.
- Meningitis (inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord)
- Bell’s palsy (facial paralysis)
- Numbness or tingling in the hands or feetThese symptoms may come and go, or they may be persistent. The neurological problems may occur in the early stages of Lyme disease, but they usually appear later.
Causes Of Lyme Disease
While tick bites are quite common, the chances of contracting Lyme disease from a tick bite are actually fairly low. According to the CDC, not all ticks carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. In order for a person to develop Lyme disease after being bitten by a tick, the tick must be infected with a specific type of bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi and it must remain attached to your body for at least 36 hours. The longer you have an infected tick attached to your skin, the higher your risk of developing Lyme disease.
Your risk of getting a bite from an infected tick is also affected by where you live and what time of year it is. For example, during certain times of year in some parts of North America there is an abundance of deer ticks that can carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi). These ticks usually like warm temperatures so they’re more active in months between May and August (although your risk increases again in September because this is when young deer ticks emerge). If you live in areas where there are many deer or other animals who may be carrying these ticks then you should take extra care when outside during these months.
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi that are transmitted to humans through a bite from an infected blacklegged tick, commonly known as a deer tick.
In order to transmit Lyme disease, a blacklegged tick needs to be attached to your body for 36 to 48 hours or more. These ticks can be found in wooded and bushy areas with high grass and lots of leaf litter. They can also be found in well-manicured suburban yards. Ticks can attach to any part of your body but are often found in hard-to-see areas such as the groin, armpits, and scalp.
Treatments For Lyme Disease
Treatment for Lyme disease includes antibiotics. Antibiotics are generally taken by mouth for 10-14 days, although the length of treatment may vary depending on the stage and severity of illness. In some cases, longer courses of antibiotics may be necessary. Lyme disease is usually treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. Most patients improve quickly and completely with antibiotic therapy.
Why Participate In A Clinical Trial For Lyme Disease
- Participating in a clinical trial may offer you access to new treatments that would otherwise not be available.
- You will receive free medical care and medications associated with the study if they are part of the trial.
- You will have access to cutting edge treatments, and have the opportunity to help others who suffer from the same condition.
- Your health is closely monitored by a research team, including doctors, nurses, and other health-care professionals.