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:
Lyme Disease In Young Children
There is currently very little published medical research documenting Lyme disease symptoms in young children, and none on babies, or on patients in the UK.
One research paper describes the neurological symptoms in 96 children in North America. The main symptom in this category was encephalitis , which children would experience as very severe headache and blurred vision, which could eventually become blindness:
The most frequent neurologic symptom was headache, and the most common sign was facial palsy. Less common manifestations were sleep disturbance, and papilledema associated with increased intracranial pressure. Signs and symptoms of peripheral nervous system involvement were infrequent. The most common clinical syndromes were mild encephalopathy, lymphocytic meningitis, and cranial neuropathy . In contrast with adult patients with neurologic Lyme disease, meningoradiculitis and peripheral neuropathy syndromes were rare.
Late Lyme Disease Symptoms
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Lyme Disease Symptoms Also Occur In Other Diseases
Many Lyme symptoms, such as fatigue, cognitive impairment, joint pain, poor sleep, mood problems, muscle pain, and neurological presentations also occur in other diseases. Hence, the symptoms of Lyme disease significantly overlap those of chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinsons disease, ALS, depression and Alzheimers disease. Many Lyme patients report being misdiagnosed with a different condition before being properly diagnosed with Lyme disease.
Who Is At Risk Of Lyme Disease And Why
An individual must first be bitten by a tick that is infected with B. burgdorferi for infection to occur. While infected ticks can be sporadically deposited in different regions in Canada by migratory birds, the risk of getting Lyme disease is greatest in an area where the ticks are persistently present or endemic, and the risk depends on the proportion of ticks that are infected. Even in areas where the ticks have become endemic, the proportion infected by this spirochete varies and is evolving. Clinicians may want to check with their local public health departments to understand where the current Lyme endemic areas are within their jurisdiction. It is important to obtain a thorough travel history from the patient, as Lyme disease is endemic in other areas of North America and Europe, and travel-related Lyme disease accounts for a proportion of the documented cases in Canada. It is also important to relay this travel history or suspicion of European Borrelia infection to the diagnostic laboratory, as the confirmatory testing for North American and European Borrelia strains differs.
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Regression And Other Symptoms In Children
Children are the largest population of Lyme patients.
The CDC study of reported Lyme cases from 19922006 found that the incidence of new cases was highest among 5- to 14-year-olds . About one quarter of reported Lyme cases in the United States involve children under 14 years old .
Children can have all the signs and symptoms of Lyme that adults have, but they may have trouble telling you exactly what they feel or where it hurts.
You may notice a decline in school performance, or your childs mood swings may become problematic.
Your childs social and speech skills or motor coordination may regress. Or your child may lose their appetite.
Children are more likely than adults to have arthritis as an initial symptom 01267-2/fulltext#sec0040″ rel=”nofollow”> 25).
In a 2012 Nova Scotian study of children with Lyme, 65 percent developed Lyme arthritis . The knee was the most commonly affected joint.
Lyme Disease Rashes And Look
Circular, expanding rash with target-like appearance.
Expanding rash with central crust
Expanding lesion with central crust on chest.
Expanding erythema migrans
Photo Credit: Reprinted from Bhate C, Schwartz RA. Lyme disease: Part I. Advances and perspectivesexternal icon. J Am Acad Dermatol 2011 64:619-36, with permission from Elsevier.
Description:Early, expanding erythema migrans with nodule.
Multiple rashes, disseminated infection
Early disseminated Lyme disease multiple lesions with dusky centers.
Red, oval plaque
Red, expanding oval-shaped plaque on trunk.
Expanding rash with central clearing
Circular, expanding rash with central clearing.
Bluish hued rash, no central clearing
Bluish hued without central clearing.
Expanding lesion, no central clearing
Expanding lesion without central clearing on back of knee.
Red-blue lesion with central clearing
Red-blue lesion with some central clearing on back of knee.
Insect bite hyper-sensitivity
Large itchy rash caused by an allergic reaction to an insect bite.
Fixed drug reaction
Description:A skin condition that occurs up to two weeks after a person takes a medication. The skin condition reappears at the same location every time a person takes that particular medication.
Description:Ringworm is a common skin infection that is caused by a fungus. Its called ringworm because it can cause a ring-shaped rash that is usually red and itchy with raised edges.
Pityriasis rosea rash
Granuloma annulare rash
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What Causes Lyme Disease
You can get Lyme disease if youre bitten by a tick carrying Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria.
Ticks are insect-sized 8-legged animals that can cling onto the skin. They can pierce the skin and inject their saliva, which may contain the bacteria, into the wound to draw blood for food. A tick has to be attached for at least 36 hours before the bacteria can be transmitted.
What Are The Second Stage Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
The symptoms of second stage, early disseminated, Lyme disease can be difficult to attribute. Symptoms include severe fatigue, fever, pain, intermittent weakness and achiness of the muscles and joints, numbness in arms and legs, vision changes, and cognitive dysfunction such as short-term memory difficulties and problems multitasking. These symptoms are not specific for Lyme disease and can make the diagnosis of second stage Lyme disease very challenging.
More recognizable Lyme disease nervous system manifestations include facial paralysis , or meningitis with severe headache and stiff neck. Notable cardiac manifestations include passing out or feeling faint from an abnormally slow heart rate, irregular heart palpitations, or unexplained difficulty tolerating exercise. Meningitis and carditis are both potentially serious Lyme disease conditions and warrant immediate medical attention.
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Stopping The Saliva Preventing The Disease
Researchers explain that the black-legged tick species Ixodes scapularis transmits the Lyme disease pathogen Borrelia burgdorferi. This disease contains several proteins and the team focused their research on 19 different types.
Working with the University of Pennsylvania, they analyzed pieces of mRNA which produce all 19 of these tick saliva proteins. Scientists who created the COVID-19 vaccine used the same strategy to develop a formula that protects against the SARS-Cov-2 virus.
Using guinea pigs, the team discovered that vaccinated animals quickly developed redness at the bite site after encountering a disease-carrying tick. As long as researchers removed the ticks right after the redness started, none of the guinea pigs developed Lyme disease. Conversely, around half of the unvaccinated group of guinea pigs were infected with B. burgdorferi bacteria despite researchers removing the ticks.
Interestingly, the vaccine successfully protected immunized guinea pigs from a single tick bite, even if researchers left the tick on the animals skin. On the other hand, a single tick bite led to Lyme disease in 60 percent of the unvaccinated guinea pigs. The vaccine also prevented ticks from feeding aggressively on their hosts and caused them to dislodge from their skin quicker.
The vaccine does have its limits. Results show protection against Lyme disease dropped off when leaving three ticks attached to the vaccinated guinea pigs.
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Disclaimer: The above material is provided for information purposes only. The material is not nor should be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, nor does it necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of Global Lyme Alliance, Inc. or any of its directors, officers, advisors or volunteers. Advice on the testing, treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patients medical history. Global Lyme Alliance, Inc. makes no warranties of any kind regarding this Website, including as to the accuracy, completeness, currency or reliability of any information contained herein, and all such warranties are expressly disclaimed.
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Summary Symptoms And 3 Stages Of Lyme
This list of signs, symptoms, and stages of Lyme disease is not exhaustive. Ive talked to a lot of people with Lyme and many of our symptoms are similar. But others are different too.
My friend, if you are struggling with an illness and the doctors havent been able to help you, you may want to study the lists above to help rule out Lyme disease. This is especially true if you spend a lot of time outdoors or live or work in a tick-infested area.
And of course, if you know youve been bitten by a tick and arent feeling well, please get yourself checked out immediately. Keep in mind that anyone can get Lyme and no one is immune.
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Other Causes Of Lyme Disease Symptoms
Sometimes people think they have the symptoms of Lyme disease, but it is a different disease caused by ticks. Diseases caused by tick bites that are known in Australia are:
- Queensland tick typhus
- Q fever
- mammalian meat allergy
Sometimes there is no known diagnosis for symptoms such as fatigue, disordered thinking, disturbances of the senses, joint pain and headaches. These symptoms are real and can be very debilitating. In this case, you doctor will work with you to manage the symptoms and improve your quality of life.
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Treating Dog Lyme Disease
If the diagnosis is Lyme disease, your dog will be treated as an outpatient unless their condition is unstable . Doxycycline is the most common antibiotic that is prescribed for Lyme disease, but other antibiotics are also effective.
Treatment usually takes at least 4 weeks, and longer courses may be necessary in some cases. Your veterinarian may also prescribe an anti-inflammatory if your dog is especially uncomfortable.
Unfortunately, antibiotic treatment does not always completely eliminate the infection from Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. Symptoms may resolve but then return at a later date, and the development of kidney disease in the future is always a concern.
Administering the antibiotics properly to your dog reduces the likelihood of chronic consequences.
Improvement in sudden inflammation of the joints caused by Borrelia should be seen after 3-5 days of antibiotic treatment. If there is no improvement within 3-5 days, your veterinarian will want to reevaluate your dog.
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Arthritis Caused By Lyme Disease
There are many causes for arthritis, and your veterinarian will focus on differentiating arthritis initiated by Lyme disease from other inflammatory arthritic disorders, such as trauma and degenerative joint disease.
Immune-mediated diseases will also be considered as a possible cause of the symptoms. X-rays of the painful joints will allow your doctor to examine the bones for abnormalities.
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What Are The Symptoms
Many body systems can be affected by Lyme disease. Symptoms vary from person to person and can come and go. Symptoms are generally classified into early or late. Early symptoms occur days to weeks after a person becomes infected. Early symptoms include:
- Flu-like symptoms such as muscle aches, joint pain, fatigue, headache, stiff neck, chills, fever, or swollen lymph nodes
- Paralyzed muscles of the face
- Palpitations or disturbances of heart rhythm
- An expanding rash called erythema migrans, or EM. The EM appears 1-30 days after the bite of an infected tick, expands over a one to two week period, and then disappears. More EMs, not necessarily at the site of the tick bite, can show up later. The EM is usually painless. The EM varies in shape and appearance. On dark skin the EM can look more like a bruise. The EM is not present in some people, or it may occur on a part of the body that is difficult to see
Painful redness that occurs less than 24 hours after a tick bite and does not expand is more likely to be a local allergic reaction to the tick’s saliva. These symptoms can disappear without treatment but the infection may still be present. If early Lyme disease symptoms are not recognized and treated adequately, the disease may progress and be more difficult to treat.
Late symptoms occur weeks, months, or years after becoming infected. Late symptoms may be the first sign of Lyme disease in some people. Late symptoms include:
Diagnosis and Treatment
Can Individuals Be Re
Relapses are recurrent symptoms that are the result of failure to cure the original infection, whereas re-infection is the recurrence of symptoms as a result of a new exposure to an infected tick, leading to a new infection. Although erythema migrans lesions can relapse if not treated with antibiotics , their recurrence after successful treatment is more likely to be re-infection than relapse .
Re-infection can occur in as many as 2%21% of patients living in endemic areas who have had Lyme disease . On examination, re-infection typically presents with an erythema migrans lesion at a different site than the original lesion more than 12.5 years after the original infection and not within 11 months of the first infection . In one series, 79% of patients with re-infection presented with erythema migrans at a different site than the previous infection, and 21% presented with a febrile illness with myalgias. Re-infection after late Lyme disease characterized by arthritis or neuroborreliosis is very rare .
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Can I Catch Lyme Disease From My Dog
Dogs are not a direct source of infection for people. Lyme disease cant be transmitted from one pet to another, nor from pets to humans, except through tick bites. However, a carrier tick could come into your house on your dogs fur and get on you.
If your dog is diagnosed with Lyme disease, you and any other pets have probably been in the same outdoor environment and may also be at risk, so it is a good idea to consult with your physician and veterinarian to see whether you should test other pets or family members.
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What Is Chronic Lyme
According to the CDC and IDSA, most people who test positive for Lyme respond well to antibiotics, even if they arent diagnosed or treated until months or years after the initial infection. But some patients continue to suffer long after the standard antibiotic course.
Researchers have some ideas about the causes of this more difficult condition. Its possible that the bacteria or some of the toxins they produce are sometimes able to survive the treatment. Its also possible that the body suffers some sort of autoimmune response to the bacteria or the treatment itself. Or it could be that these illnesses are the result of multiple simultaneous infectionsnot just with Borrelia burgdorferi but with several other pathogens that the blacklegged tick is known to transmit.
But ultimately, doctors are divided over several basic questions: How common is this condition? Can it be treated with antibiotics? And what should it be called?
The CDC and IDSA refer to this as post-treatment-Lyme-disease syndrome, a condition for which no proven cause or treatment options exist. According to both, theres no evidence that prolonged antibiotic therapy works against Lyme disease.
But other groups, including the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society , call it chronic Lyme disease. They say it may stem from a failure to diagnose Lyme disease early on . They also say that long-term antibiotic therapy can work, though they say relapses are common and the road to recovery is bumpy.
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What To Do If You Find A Tick
If you find a tick, use fine tweezers, grasp it close to the skin, try not to squeeze the tick bodywhich would help inject its contents into its victimand pull straight out. Twisting the tick while removing is not recommended. Clean the skin and your hands with soap and water or rubbing alcohol .
You can have a tick tested for pathogens at TickCheck or TickEncounter or other labs. The Bay Area Lyme Foundation offers advice on when, how, and where to have a tick tested. Even if it is not known whether the tick carries any pathogens, if it is an Ixodes tick and was attached for long enough to transmit pathogens , preventative treatment with antibiotics may be warranted, so call your doctor. There are varying opinions as to what that treatment should consist of, from a single dose of doxycycline to twenty days of doxycycline .