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Lyme Disease: 27 Facts

 

Lyme Disease: 27 Facts

1. Borrelia burgdorferi is the spirochete bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

2. Lyme disease was initially discovered in the United States in 1977 in a group of children in Lyme, Connecticut; hence, it was named Lyme disease.

3. Infected deer ticks transmit the bacteria to humans, resulting in more than 20,000 illnesses in the United States each year.

4. Lyme disease is known as "The Great Imitator" because its symptoms are similar to those of many other diseases.

5. Lyme disease can occur in anyone at any age. Because of the increased exposure to ticks, those who spend time in wooded or grassy areas are at a higher risk of disease. This includes people who work or play in their yards; go hiking, camping, fishing, or hunting away from home; or work in outdoor jobs including landscaping, brush clearance, forestry, and wildlife and park management.

6. Ticks seem to be most active from May to August. Deer ticks in the nymphal, or juvenile, stage, which is less than a tenth of an inch (2 mm), are active. This is the stage where individuals are most likely to get bitten and infected. In the middle to late October, adult ticks, which are about an eighth of an inch in size (2-3 mm), are most active.

7. The black-legged tick bite spreads Lyme disease (Ixodes scapularis). Other tick species also spread the bacterium throughout the country.

8. Ticks feed by putting their lips into a host's skin and sucking blood. If a tick feeds on a Lyme disease-infected animal and then bites a human, the bacterium can be transmitted to the human.

9. Lyme disease is not believed to be transmitted from person to person. A person cannot become infected by touching, kissing, or having sex with someone who has Lyme disease, for example.

10. People frequently, but not always, develop a big circular rash around or near the tick bite site. It's possible that many rash sites will emerge. Chills, fever, headache, weariness, stiff neck, swollen glands, and muscular and/or joint discomfort are all possible symptoms. These could last for a few weeks.

11. If Lyme disease is not treated, it can lead to consequences like meningitis, facial palsy, arthritis, and cardiac irregularities, as well as damage other body systems. Swelling and pain in the big joints can recur after a long period of time. These later symptoms may occur in patients who did not have or notice the earlier symptoms.

12. It can take anywhere between 3 and 32 days for symptoms to normally appear after exposure; the average is one month.

13. Lyme disease diagnosis is mainly clinical. Your healthcare practitioner may decide to test your blood or treat you for Lyme disease based on your symptoms. The longer you've been infected, the more accurate the blood test results are. A Lyme disease blood test may not be positive for 4-6 weeks after you have been unwell (there is ongoing research to find improved methods of testing).

14. Lyme disease can recur multiple times in a person's life.

15. Antibiotics have proven to be quite successful in the treatment of Lyme disease. Because early diagnosis improves treatment outcomes, it's critical to call your doctor if you're feeling sick or notice a rash.

16. The complications of Lyme disease usually go away with prompt antibiotic treatment.

17. A vaccine for Lyme disease was available; however, the company declared that LYMERIX would no longer be available commercially in February 2002.

18. If ticks are found, they should be removed from the body. With a tweezer, grasp the mouthparts as close to the attachment (skin) site as feasible. If tweezers aren't available, use tissue or rubber gloves to protect your fingertips. Handling a tick with your bare hands is not safe. Avoid squeezing, crushing, or puncturing the tick's body, which may carry infectious fluids. It is critical to remove a tick as soon as it is identified. After you've removed the tick, disinfect the area with rubbing alcohol or an antibacterial wash, then wash your hands with hot water and soap. If you have any concerns about tick removal, see or call a doctor. Ticks should not be removed with petroleum jelly, lit cigarettes, or other home cures because they may increase the risk of developing a tick-borne disease.

19. Lyme disease can infiltrate the central nervous system and cause organic neurological and psychiatric symptoms. Neurological Lyme disease, often known as Lyme neuroborreliosis, is the medical term for this condition.

20. Living with Lyme disease and/or being treated for it can cause stress, sadness, and other mental health concerns that aren't directly caused by the bacterium but are indirectly caused or exacerbated by the disease's experience.

21. Symptoms may get worse before they get better while being treated for Lyme disease. This is because of a reaction known as the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction, which usually occurs after beginning antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease and other diseases caused by spirochete bacteria. The reaction usually occurs between 1 and 12 hours after the first antibiotic injection and can last anywhere from a few hours to a day. It usually goes away on its own or with symptomatic treatment, methods of detoxification, and alternative home and lifestyle remedies. The severity of inflammation is determined by the intensity of the reaction.

22. The nervous system is the third most implicated organ system in Lyme disease, accounting for 10%-15% of infected individuals in both Europe and the United States. Numbness, discomfort, weakness, facial nerve paralysis, vision problems, and meningitis can occur. Symptoms such as fever, stiff neck, and severe headache are the most common neurological sequelae in the second stage of Lyme disease. Reduced attention, irritability, memory and sleep disturbances, and nerve damage in the arms and legs are some of the other issues that may not manifest for weeks, months, or years after a tick bite. Radiculoneuritis is diagnosed less frequently in the United States than meningitis or facial palsy, and these symptoms can occur alone or in combination.

23. Neurologic Lyme disease is more common in children than adults, particularly facial nerve palsy and sometimes meningitis (brain inflammation). Lyme disease is frequently misdiagnosed in children who have only nonspecific symptoms like headaches, joint pain, fatigue, or weakness.

24. Lyme disease can induce encephalopathy in certain people. Memory loss, confusion, difficulty forming words and thoughts, difficulty concentrating, and personality changes are some of the side effects. These symptoms appear late in the disease and are usually subtle. The term "brain fog" is widely used to describe this.

25. Lyme disease-related brain fog is complicated and is associated with inflammation. Infections with Lyme disease can cause inflammation in the brain's blood vessels, nerve roots from the brain to the spinal cord, and the eroding of the myelin coating that protects nerves. It has the potential to interfere with thinking processes, focus, speaking, and memory.

26. Lyme disease cannot pass to a baby through breast milk. Lyme disease might cause issues for the baby if contracted during pregnancy; however, it is not very common. Early diagnosis and treatment can help patients recover from Lyme disease and prevent complications during pregnancy.

Lyme disease if left untreated during pregnancy can increase the risk of the following:

  • Placental infection
  • Stillbirth
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Defects in the urinary tract
  • Hyperbilirubinemia
  • Rashes on the baby

27. Lyme disease can be prevented by preventing tick bites.

Tick bites can be prevented in the following ways:

  • Avoiding areas where ticks can be found (wet, humid surroundings, especially in and around woodland or grassy regions)
  • Using insect repellents (repellents with DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone)
  • Checking the body and scalp for ticks daily
  • Preventing ticks on pets or animals
  • Keeping the yard tick free
  • Making use of chemical pesticides
     

 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK431066/

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmed.2021.666554/full

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18452688/

 

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