In Europe, another bacterium, Borrelia afzelii, also causes Lyme disease. In 1975, unusually large numbers of children in Lyme, Conn., were diagnosed with what appeared to be juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Lyme disease or Lyme borreliosis is the most common tick-borne disease in North America and Europe , and the second fastest-growing infectious disease in the United States after AIDS.
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected blacklegged ticks.
The rural location of the Lyme outbreak and the onset of illness during summer and early fall suggested that the transmission of the disease was by an arthropod vector. The disease is reported worldwide and throughout the United States. Lyme disease affects both humans and animals. Even in endemic areas, not all deer ticks are infected with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, and only a small percentage of people or pets bitten by a deer tick actually become sick.
Lyme disease may cause symptoms affecting the skin, nervous system, heart and/or joints of an individual. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks; laboratory testing is helpful in the later stages of disease.
Lyme disease is carried by deer ticks and western black-legged ticks (found mostly on the Pacific Coast). These ticks are about the size of a sesame seed. These ticks acquire the bacteria from mice and then infect humans by biting them and passing the bacteria into a person’s bloodstream. Lyme disease has been reported in 49 states and on four different continents. The is growing concern that Dermacentor variabilis (the American dog tick) may also be capable of transmitting the disease.
Still, it’s important to take common-sense precautions in areas where Lyme disease is prevalent. Delayed or inadequate treatment may often lead to a chronic illness that is disabling and difficult to treat.
Causes of Lyme Disease
The common causes of Lyme Disease include the following :
- It is carried by the black-legged tick (deer tick) and the western black-legged tick.
- The germs travel through your blood and stop in various places in your body.
- They can cause a number of symptoms, some of which are severe.
- Risk factors for Lyme disease include walking in high grasses, other activities that increase tick exposure, and having a pet that may carry ticks home.
- Lyme disease is spread when you are bitten by a tick that is infected with B. burgdorferi bacteria.
- A germ that is carried by a tick causes Lyme disease. This germ is a bacterium that is transferred when a tick bites through the skin.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
Some sign and symptoms related to Lyme Disease are as follows :
- One sign of Lyme disease is a rash, which may appear 3 to 30 days after a tick bite.
- Joint inflammation in the knees and other large joints.
- In Europe, people with advanced Lyme disease may develop skin nodules and patches of thinning skin on their hands, elbows or knees.
- Stiff neck.
- Also, there can be arthritis, and loss of feeling in the arms, legs, or feet.
- Neurological problems.
- Unusual or strange behavior.
- Fever and chills.
- Swollen lymph nodes.
Treatment of Lyme Disease
Here is the list of the methods for treating Lyme Disease :
- Antibiotics are prescribed based on disease stages and manifestations. Doxycycline, tetracycline, cefuroxime, ceftriaxone, and penicillin are some of the choices.
- Some people may need medicine by a shot.
- Pain relievers do not help to combat Lyme disease but may relieve some of the symptoms. They include : Acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol), Nonsteriodal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin or ibuprofen.
- Patients with chronic arthritis that does not respond to IV antibiotics may need a synovectomy to eradicate the inflammatory arthritis in the involved joint.
- Acetaminophen is often given to manage the pain of Lyme disease.