Recurring Lyme Disease Rash Caused By Reinfection Not Relapse
Lyme disease is spread by deer ticks like this one. A study finds that some people can be reinfected many times with the bacteria that cause the disease. Lauree Feldman/Getty Creative Imageshide caption
In recent years, a disease spread by ticks has become more common across the country.
Lyme disease causes a skin rash, and in some cases, more serious symptoms. The rash usually goes away with antibiotics, but some people say they have other symptoms that persist for months or years.
Now a study published in the latest issue of The New England Journal of Medicine suggests those with a recurring rash don’t have one long illness. Instead, they’re getting new infections from fresh tick bites.
Researchers recently conducted an experiment in which they examined Lyme disease-causing bacteria in the blood of 17 patients suffering from a recurrence of the rash. Then they compared these bacteria to a sample taken from the same patients during an earlier flare-up of Lyme symptoms.
Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
People with Lyme disease may react to it differently, and the symptoms can vary in severity.
Although Lyme disease is commonly divided into three stages early localized, early disseminated, and late disseminated symptoms can overlap. Some people will also present in a later stage of disease without having symptoms of earlier disease.
These are some of the more common symptoms of Lyme disease:
- a flat, circular rash that looks like a red oval or bulls-eye anywhere on your body
- other flu-like symptoms
These symptoms may occur soon after the infection, or months or years later.
Your child may have Lyme disease and not have the bulls-eye rash. According to an early study, results showed roughly 89 percent of children had a rash.
Lyme disease is best treated in the early stages. Treatment for early localized disease is a simple 10- to 14-day course of oral antibiotics to eliminate the infection.
Medications used to treat Lyme disease include:
- doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime, which are first-line treatments in adults and children
- cefuroxime and amoxicillin, which are used to treat women who are nursing or breastfeeding
After improvement and to finish the course of treatment, healthcare providers will typically switch to an oral regimen. The complete course of treatment usually takes 1428 days.
How Is Lyme Disease Treated
Lyme disease is most often treated with antibiotics such as doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime for several weeks. Please complete the full course of antibiotics as prescribed, even if your child is feeling better, in order to kill all the bacteria.
If your child doesn’t respond to oral antibiotics, or if the Lyme disease is affecting the central nervous system, antibiotics may need to be given intravenously . This usually doesnt require your child to be hospitalized. In many cases, a nurse can come to your home to administer the IV or teach you or another family member how to do it.
Anti-inflammatory medicine may be prescribed for children who are experiencing pain from arthritis.
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Central Mass Residents Must Protect Themselves From The Threat Of Infection With Effective Tick Control
Professional Central Mass tick control is our best ally in the fight against tick bites, and it is available all year long. In the spring, summer, and fall, barrier tick spray is an essential part of Lyme disease prevention. In the late fall and through the winter, tick tubes will carry on the fight, decreasing the number of ticks that will emerge in the spring.
Can Autism Be Misdiagnosed As Lyme Disease What Research Is There To Prove This Can A Child With Autism Be Successfully Treated For Lyme Disease
It would be extremely unusual to misdiagnose a child with autism as having Lyme disease. Lyme disease typically gets diagnosed when a child has joint and muscle pains, along with fatigue, positive blood tests, and central or peripheral nervous system involvement. Certainly a child with autism may also get Lyme disease and thus have two disorders. In that situation, treatment of Lyme disease should result in a resolution of the Lyme disease but it would not likely result in a change in the autism symptoms. The question of interest to us is whether there are cases of “regressive autism” that occur in older pre-school age children for example that has been induced by a central nervous system infection, such as with Borrelia burgdorferi. In such a situation, treatment with antibiotics may well result in an improvement in the developmental regression. This area however has not been adequately studied.
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Can You Get Lyme Disease Twice
Few infectious diseases inspire as much debate and confusion as Lyme disease. Because its symptoms range so widely and mimic those of so many other illnesses, patients can spend months to years pinning down an accurate diagnosis. Whats more, post-treatment symptoms arent uncommon, and a single infection can even develop into chronic Lyme.
But what about new infections of Lyme? Many patients may wonder, can you get Lyme disease twice?
The short answer is yes. In this blog, well break down why and how some people get Lyme disease more than once in their lifetime.
Can you get Lyme disease twice?
Yes, you can get Lyme disease twice or more.
This is different from being newly infected by other tick-borne illnesses, such as Ehrlichia or Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever, which can present with Lyme-like symptoms but are actually caused by different bacteria than the Lyme disease bacteria. For example, Daryl Hall of the music duo Hall & Oates claims to have been infected with six or seven different tick-borne diseases after being bitten by ticks many times over the years.
When a person contracts Lyme disease twice, however, they are once again infected with the specific bacteria that causes Lyme, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato.
Its important to note that there are at least 18 known strains of the Lyme-causing B. burgdorferi . Those who have been treated for Lyme in the past can thus be newly infected in one of two ways:
- By a tick carrying a different species of B. burgdorferi
Is There Any Relationship Between Sleep Apnea And Lyme Disease
We do not know of any evidence that Lyme disease causes sleep apnea, although sleep apnea has been associated with other encephalitic disorders. Sleep apnea may look like Lyme disease. For example, patients with sleep apnea may be difficult to arouse when asleep, will have excessive daytime sleepiness, and may complain of insomnia. They may have morning headaches, inattentiveness, and a decline in school or work performance. Hypertension may also occur. One can have sleep apnea without being obese. The problem can occur in children as well as adults. The diagnosis is made at a sleep lab after special tests of respiratory function and all-night polygraphic sleep monitoring. Patients with central sleep apnea may have lesions in the medulla with ninth and 10th cranial nerve palsies with trouble swallowing or speaking. Patients with obstructive sleep apnea tend to be overweight and to have large tonsils. These patients may snore and then have 10-30 second periods at night when breathing appears to stop. Patients will then take a deep snorting breath and then return to sleep, unaware of what just happened. Treatment is determined by the severity of the symptoms and the type. In central apnea, medroxyprogesterone and protriptyline can be helpful. Weight loss and surgical correction are the treatments for the obstructive type. Patients may experience enormous relief after the surgery. Symptoms previously incorrectly attributed to Lyme disease may now resolve completely.
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What Can I Expect Long Term If My Child Has Lyme Disease
If Lyme disease is caught and treated early, most children will make a full recovery. Some children with Lyme disease go on to experience what’s called a post-infectious syndrome with symptoms that may include feeling fatigue, joint aches and pains, headaches, difficulty sleeping, and problems concentrating. Since the infection itself is gone by this time, doctors generally don’t prescribe antibiotics. Each child is different, but it’s not uncommon for symptoms of post-infectious syndrome to linger for months, or even years, and they can be made worse by stress or other illness. But most children do make a full recovery.
Blacklegged, or deer, ticks are very small, so it helps to know what to look for when doing a tick check. Adults are about the size of sesame seeds and in the nymph or larva stage, they can be as tiny as a poppy seeds.
Late Persistent Lyme Disease
Late persistent Lyme disease usually occurs in those who did not receive early treatment. It’s the most severe stage and can occur months to years following the initial infection. Damage to the joints, nerves, and brain is possible if not treated.
Muscle and joint pain is the most common complaint of those in late-stage Lyme disease, affecting 80% of untreated people. Lyme arthritis, which occurs in 50% of cases, can cause swelling and pain, usually in one knee, but can be present in both knees or other large joints.
Various neurological symptoms can occur depending on the area of the nervous system affected. Some symptoms may be similar to stage 2 but can be more extensive, severe, or longer-lasting. If the infection has traveled to the brain, you may experience:
- Difficulty following conversations and processing information
- Mental fogginess
- Trouble sleeping
- Vertigo or dizziness
Oral antibiotics are typically used for Lyme arthritis, while intravenous antibiotics treat neurologic issues. The length of therapy can be two to four weeks, depending on the symptoms.
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How To Prevent Post
While you may not be able to prevent post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, you can take precautions to prevent coming into direct contact with infected ticks. The following practices can reduce your likelihood of getting Lyme disease and developing persistent symptoms.
If a tick bites you, contact your doctor. You should be observed for 30 days for signs of Lyme disease. You should also learn the signs of early Lyme disease and seek prompt treatment if you think youre infected. Early antibiotic intervention may reduce your risk of developing chronic symptoms.
The signs of early Lyme disease can occur from 3 to 30 days after a bite from an infected tick. Look for:
- a red, expanding bulls-eye rash at the site of the tick bite
What Are The Complications Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease affects people differently. Relapse and incomplete treatment responses happen. Relapse and incomplete treatment responses happen. Complications of untreated early-stage disease include:
Frequent hospitalizations to manage the disease
Some of these complications result in chronic, debilitating conditions.
Some people may develop post-Lyme disease syndrome . A condition also known as chronic Lyme disease includes PLDS, but also other syndromes. Usually, these are characterized by persistent musculoskeletal and peripheral nerve pain, fatigue, and memory impairment.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Most children who develop Lyme disease do not recall having been bitten by a tick. Symptoms can appear a few days to many months after the bite, and can include:
- a rash in the form of a bulls-eye
- facial palsy, or weakness of the facial muscles
- headache/meningitis, or swelling of tissues around the brain and spinal cord
Children with a bulls-eye rash may also have systemic symptoms such as fever, fatigue, and joint aches. The rash may not have a classic bull-eye appearance, especially on people with darkly pigmented skin, and can be mistaken for cellulitis, ringworm, or other skin conditions. Children who develop a disseminated infection often have not had a preceding skin rash.
The most common late stage symptom of Lyme disease is arthritis, particularly in the large joints and especially the knee. Typically, the joints will be more swollen and tender than painful, and anti-inflammatory medicine can help.
How Can I Prevent My Dog From Getting Lyme Disease
The key to prevention is keeping your dog from being exposed to ticks. Ticks are found in grassy, wooded, and sandy areas. They find their way onto an animal by climbing to the top of a leaf, blade of grass, or short trees, especially cedar trees. Here they wait until their sensors detect an approaching animal on which to crawl or drop. Keeping animals from thick underbrush reduces their exposure to ticks. Dogs should be kept on trails when walked near wooded or tall grass areas. Vaccination against Lyme disease is recommended for pets that live in endemic areas or that travel to areas where Lyme disease is prevalent.
“Vaccination against Lyme disease is recommended for pets that live in endemic areas or that travel to areas where Lyme disease is prevalent.”
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Stage : Early Localized Disease
Symptoms of Lyme disease usually start 1 to 2 weeks after the tick bite. One of the earliest signs of the disease is a bulls-eye rash.
The rash occurs at the site of the tick bite, usually, but not always, as a central red spot surrounded by a clear spot with an area of redness at the edge. It may be warm to the touch, but it isnt painful and doesnt itch. This rash will gradually fade in most people.
The formal name for this rash is erythema migrans. Erythema migrans is said to be characteristic of Lyme disease. However, many people dont have this symptom.
Some people have a rash thats solid red, while people with dark complexions may have a rash that resembles a bruise.
The rash can occur with or without systemic viral or flu-like symptoms.
Other symptoms commonly seen in this stage of Lyme disease include:
My Child Had Lyme Disease Got Treated And Is Now Depressed Could This Be A Sign Of A Relapse
Depression is a word that encompasses physical, cognitive, and emotional components. The physical would be poor sleep, fatigue, low energy, lack of sex drive. The cognitive would include poor concentration and trouble making decisions. The emotional would include feeling guilty, hopeless, suicidal, and being unable to enjoy life in any aspect. Chronic symptoms triggered by Lyme disease are most often associated with insomnia or hypersomnia, fatigue, headaches, pain, and, not uncommonly, problems with cognition as well. In other words, chronic Lyme symptoms are most often associated with the physical and cognitive parts of the depressive picture and less often with the emotionally despairing part. When a person presents with the emotional part that is sustained for at least 2 weeks, it may be that a full syndrome depression has emerged related to the Lyme disease or that it is a concurrent but unrelated illness. The emotional aspects of depression might occur secondarily to being sick with a physical illness or directly from an infection affecting the brain or from chemicals affecting the brain that were released by infection outside of the brain. When a person has Lyme encephalitis , the emotional part of depression can be very dramatic. The person might be suddenly tearful for no apparent reason, have very poor frustration tolerance, become paranoid or angered at the least provocation, and appear to have a personality change.
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Stage : Early Disseminated Lyme Disease
Early disseminated Lyme disease occurs several weeks to months after the tick bite.
Youll have a general feeling of being unwell, and a rash may appear in areas other than the tick bite.
This stage of the disease is primarily characterized by evidence of systemic infection, which means infection has spread throughout the body, including to other organs.
Symptoms can include:
- disturbances in heart rhythm, which can be caused by Lyme carditis
- neurologic conditions, such as numbness, tingling, facial and cranial nerve palsies, and meningitis
The symptoms of stages 1 and 2 can overlap.
Can Lyme Disease Be Cured
Can lyme disease be cured?Although most cases of Lyme disease can be cured with a 2- to 4-week course of oral antibiotics, patients can sometimes have symptoms of pain, fatigue, or difficulty thinking that last for more than 6 months after they finish treatment. This condition is called Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome .
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Can You Get Lymes Disease Twice
I got it about 10 years ago. I now they dont know a ton about the disease but I was wondering if you can get it a second time. My impression was no. Thanks for any info.
Yes, you can get it again. See
Originally Posted by zdankI got it about 10 years ago. I now they dont know a ton about the disease but I was wondering if you can get it a second time. My impression was no. Thanks for any info.my son has had it three times. still has 5 bars, but got over the yellow rocky mounted fever.
I’m so confused, I’m not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.
My first bout with Lyme’s was in 2005, then had it in 2006, and again in 2008. Once in a person’s system, it’s always there and will show up in testing. It doesn’t take much to trigger it again. The last time it flared up was the worst… I was stumbling, falling down weak and it took 10 weeks of medication to knock it down.
Originally Posted by QuoddyOnce in a person’s system, it’s always there and will show up in testing.The “test” detects the presence of antibodies. Once antibodies develop, they tend to persist. If Lyme disease is treated early , antibodies may not develop. Whether the antibodies are protective against future exposures is debated.”Chronic lyme disease” is a highly controversial subject.
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