Lyme disease - Definition, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Lyme disease (Borreliosis) is a bacterial infection. Lyme disease is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi. Borrelia burgdorferi transmitted by the bite of a deer tick.Deer ticks can be so small that they are almost impossible to see. Therefore, many people with Lyme disease never even saw a tick.
These people are more likely to develop symptoms because the tick remained on their body longer. Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in the United States. There are more than 16,000 cases of Lyme disease per year in the United States. Humans are infected by ticks in the nymph stage 85% of the time (spring to summer) and the adult stage 15% of the time (fall).
Infection is often contracted during warm-weather months when ticks are active. The spirochete enters the skin at the site of the tick bite. After incubating for 3-30 days, the bacteria migrate through the skin and may spread to lymph nodes or disseminate through the bloodstream to organs or distant skin sites. 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 not contagious and cannot be transmitted from person to person. Black-legged ticks ( Ixodes scapularis) are responsible for transmitting Lyme disease bacteria to humans. A tick must be attached to a person for 2-3 days to pass on the infection.
This is due to the life cycle of B burgdorferi in ticks. In previously infected ticks, only small numbers of bacteria are present until the tick feeds. Once feeding begins, the bacteria then multiply in the gut of the tick. The bacteria then migrate to the salivary glands of the tick after 2-3 days. There, they are injected into the animal by the tick as it ends its feeding. Until this multiplication occurs, ticks are rarely able to pass on the infection. Ticks are actually a type of mite.
Ticks vary in size and colour; blacklegged ticks are very small. Before feeding, adult females are approximately 3-5 mm in length and red and dark brown in colour; following a blood-meal, females can be as large as a grape.LD is transmitted to humans by ticks. Larval and nymphal stages feed on infected reservoir hosts, acquire the organism and then, after moulting to the next life stage (nymphs and adults respectively), pass on the infection to humans and other animals.
Lyme Disease ( commonly misspelled as Lime or Lymes ) symptoms may show up fast, with a bang, or very slowly and innocuously. Patients may have an expanding rash, which may appear 3 to 30 days after a tick bite. This rash, called erythema migrans. There may be initial flu-like symptoms with fever, headache, nausea, jaw pain, light sensitivity, red eyes, muscle ache and stiff neck.
Many write this off as a flu and because the nymph stage of the tick is so tiny many do not recall a tick bite. The late symptoms of Lyme disease can appear months after initial infection and often progress in cumulative fashion over time. Neuro-psychiatric symptoms often develop much later in disease sequence, much like tertiary neurosyphilis. Lyme disease spirochetes disseminate from the site of the tick bite by cutaneous, lymphatic and blood borne routes.
The signs of early disseminated infection usually occur days to weeks after the appearance of a solitary erythema migrans lesion. Cats do contract Lyme Disease but very uncommonly. The Ixodes tick is often called the deer tick because the adult stage of the tick prefers to feed on deer. However, it will feed on other creatures such as skunks, birds, canines and people.
There are several available treatments for Stroke. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, are sometimes prescribed to relieve joint stiffness. In most cases, 14 to 30 days of treatment with an antibiotic kills the bacteria. Prompt treatment with drugs, such as tetracycline, can quickly clear up the early symptoms and prevent serious complications. Even in the late stages, penicillin and other drugs are still effective in most cases.
The immunomodulating, neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory potential of minocycline may be helpful in late/chronic Lyme disease with neurological or other inflammatory manifestations. Minocycline is used in other neurodegenerative and inflammatory disorders such as Multiple sclerosis, Parkinsons, Huntingtons disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (which is used conventionally to treat a number of other conditions), as an adjunct to antibiotics for Lyme has been discussed. Alternative medicine approaches include bee venom because it contains the peptide melittin, which has been shown to exert profound inhibitory effects on lyme bacteria in vitro.
Wash affected area with soap and water or disinfect (with alcohol or household disinfectant) after removing ticks. Use insect repellants that effectively repel ticks (such as those containing DEET). Apply the repellent to pant legs, socks, shoes, and the skin.
About the author:
Juliet Cohen writes articles for health care clinic and home remedies. She also writes articles on beauty tips.