How Is Lyme Disease Transmitted
Ticks usually live in woods or tall grasslands in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Asia. Ticks can become infected with Borrelia burgdorferi by feeding on infected wild animals, and then can spread the bacteria when they feed on blood from the host. Ticks cannot fly – they hang onto small bushes or tall grasses and are usually found close to the ground. They wait for an animal or person to pass near them and when the animal or person makes contact, the ticks attach themselves to the skin to feed.
In North America, Lyme disease is transmitted mainly by two species of ticks:
- Blacklegged tick , Ixodes scapularis.
- Western blacklegged tick, Ixodes pacificus.
The Public Health Agency of Canada states that there no evidence that Lyme disease can spread from person-to-person. Pets, especially dogs, can get Lyme disease, but there is no evidence that pets can spread the infection directly to humans. They may, however, carry infected ticks into the home or yard which may increase the chance of transmission.
Summary Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
Lyme disease is transmitted via tick bites, and can cause lameness, swollen joints and even kidney failure. While it can be treated if the case is not too severe, prevention is best. The best way to prevent an infection is to reduce your dogs exposure to ticks and stay up-to-date on monthly preventatives and Lyme vaccinations.
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What Is Late Lyme Disease
Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, is caused by an infection with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria is disseminated through tick bites. Infected ticks usually bite small mammals, who do not develop any kind of infection from the bacteria. When humans are exposed to B. Burgdorferi from a tick bite, however, they can develop Lyme disease.
People who work outside or spend time in woodland areas, where there is greater potential for exposure to tick bites, are most at risk of infection.
Lyme disease is a condition which progresses in stages:
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Lyme Disease: Symptoms And Stages
Symptoms of early-stage Lyme disease include:
- muscle and joint aches
- swollen lymph nodes
Another common symptom of Lyme disease is a rash . As many as 80% of infected people may develop a rash, and roughly 20% of the time the rash has a characteristic bull’s-eye appearance.
When left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.
Later-stage symptoms may not appear until weeks or months after a tick bite occurs. They include:
- heart-rhythm irregularities
- nervous system abnormalities
Permanent damage to the joints or the nervous system can develop in patients with late Lyme disease. It is rarely, if ever, fatal.
Check With Local Health Officials
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Tick bites are usually painless and most people do not know they have been bitten. Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease vary greatly from person to person, and may appear anywhere between 3 to 30 days after a person has been bitten.
Symptoms often include:
- Swollen lymph nodes.
One sign of infection can be an expanding rash, sometimes referred to as a “bull’s eye” rash because it may have rings spreading from the bite site ). It is important to note that rashes without the bull’s eye may occur, and that rashes do not appear in every case of Lyme disease infection.
The PHAC states that if left untreated, more severe symptoms may occur and can last from months to years. Severe symptoms may include:
- Severe headaches
- Additional EM skin rashes..
- Neurological disorders
- Nervous system disorders, including facial paralysis or Bell’s palsy .
- Intermittent muscle, joint, tendon, and bone aches
- Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and less commonly in other joints such as the ankle, elbow, and wrists.
If untreated, a condition called late disseminated Lyme disease may occur. PHAC reports symptoms include recurring arthritis , nervous system and/or neurological problems. Symptoms can also include numbness and/or paralysis . Deaths from Lyme disease are rare but may occur.
PHAC provides more information on Lyme Disease.
How Is Lyme Disease Treated
Antibiotics, usually doxycycline or amoxicillin, are effective treatments for Lyme disease. How long your treatment lasts depends on the stage of infection. In general, its true that the sooner youre treated, the quicker and more complete the recovery.
Pregnant people should receive treatment for Lyme disease as well. There is, however, no evidence that a fetus can get the infection from its parent. Theres also no strong evidence that miscarriages are more likely after Lyme disease.
What should I do if a tick bites me?
If a tick bites you, the best way to remove it is by taking the following steps:
- Tug gently but firmly with blunt tweezers near the “head” of the tick at the level of your skin until it releases its hold on your skin.
- Avoid crushing the tick’s body or handling the tick with bare fingers because you could expose yourself to the bacteria in the tick.
- Wash the bite area thoroughly with soap and water.
- Don’t use kerosene, petroleum jelly or hot cigarette butts to remove the tick.
- Don’t squeeze the tick’s body with your fingers or tweezers.
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How Long Does A Tick Need To Be Embedded For It To Transmit Disease
The longer a tick is attached, the higher the risk of transmission. Although Lyme disease is not commonly transmitted when ticks are attached for less than 24 hours, the risk of Lyme disease posed by those bites is not zero. There may be other factors that contribute to disease transmission in short duration attachments. In addition, there are other disease-causing bacteria and viruses carried by blacklegged ticks that are known to be transmitted in less than 24 hours.
Can Lyme Disease In Dogs Affect Humans
Its unfortunate that bacterial infection brought by Lyme disease could be transmitted to humans. This is otherwise known as Lyme borreliosis.
There are a lot of people who show early symptoms of the infection with the most common being rash around the ticks bite.
As per accounts of previously affected individuals, the rash developed in a span of 3 to 30 days after being bitten. Its comparable to a target on a dartboard with the edges seem a bit raised. Usually, the diameter of the rash bite is roughly 15cm or 6 inches but could be smaller or bigger.
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How To Prevent Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disorder in the United States. It can affect your joints, nervous system, heart, skin, and eyes. It’s transmitted through the bites of certain species of ticks known as black-legged or deer ticks. Adult deer ticks are about the size of sesame seeds and nymphal ticks can be the size of the period at the end of this sentence.
Reducing exposure to ticks is your best defense against contracting Lyme disease. There are a variety of methods you can use to prevent and control Lyme disease.
Diagnosis Testing And Treatment
You may have heard that the blood test for Lyme disease is correctly positive only 65% of the time or less. This is misleading information. As with serologic tests for other infectious diseases, the accuracy of the test depends upon how long youve been infected. During the first few weeks of infection, such as when a patient has an erythema migrans rash, the test is expected to be negative.
Several weeks after infection, FDA cleared tests have very good sensitivity.
It is possible for someone who was infected with Lyme disease to test negative because:
If you are pregnant and suspect you have contracted Lyme disease, contact your physician immediately.
* Silver HM. Lyme disease during pregnancy. Infect Dis Clin North Am. 1997 Mar 11:93-7.
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Lyme Disease Is Spread By The Bite Of An Infected Black
Be Tick Aware
Practicing good tick bite prevention habits is the best way to prevent Lyme disease and other tick-
borne illnesses. Good habits range from what clothing you wear, where you walk, and how often you check for ticks. Simply, its important to Be Tick AWARE.
AVOID areas where ticks live. Ticks thrive in wood piles, leaf litter, long grass, beach grass, bushy areas, stone walls, and perimeters where the lawn meets the woods.
WEAR light-colored clothing to spot ticks more easily long-sleeved shirt tucked in at the waist, long pants tucked into high socks, closed-toe shoes, and a hat with your hair tucked in, if possible. Do not walk in the grass barefoot or in open sandals, even if its cut short.
APPLY EPS-approved tick repellent and insecticide to skin, clothing, and shoes as directed.
REMOVE clothing upon entering the home toss into the dryer at high temperature for 10-15 minutes to kill live ticks. Putting them in the washer, however, will not.
EXAMINE yourself and your pets for ticks daily. Feel for bumps paying close attention to the back of knees, groin, armpits, in and behind the ears, belly button, and scalp. Check everywhere ticks love to hide! Shower or bathe as soon as possible to wash away unattached ticks. If you find a tick, remove it quick! The longer it is attached, the more likely it will transmit a disease.
Protect Your Pets
Ask your veterinarian about tick repellent products for your pets.
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Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented
Most people with Lyme disease get the infection during the late spring, summer and early fall when immature ticks are out feeding. In warm climates, few tick bites take place during winter months.
Deer ticks are most often found in wooded areas and nearby grasslands. Theyre especially common where the two areas merge, including neighborhood yards where deer occasionally roam. Ticks dont survive long on sunny lawns. They dry out quickly and die.
Although only about 1% of all deer ticks carry Lyme disease-causing bacteria, there are areas in which over 50% of the ticks carry the bacterium. The diseased ticks are often found in the U.S. Northeast and upper Midwest areas. Ticks also live in coastal areas.
Black-legged ticks can get the infection from animals other than deer. Mice, voles and some squirrels can carry the bacteria.
How can I prevent tick bites?
The following tips can help you avoid tick bites:
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Can Dogs That Have Been Vaccinated For Lyme Disease Still Get It
Sadly, dogs that have been vaccinated might still get Lyme Disease. Vaccination can help your dog to have antibodies that recognize the threat, however, and this can make it much more likely that their immune system will fight off the Lyme Disease. This is a great way to help prevent the most serious symptoms of this condition, even if you cant 100% prevent your dog from being infected.
Causes Of Lyme Disease In Dogs
Dogs get Lyme disease from the bite of an infected Ixodes tick, just like people do. However, transmission of the disease is not instantaneous when the tick bites. It takes 24-48 hours for the tick to transmit the disease to your dog.
Once the Borrelia bacteria enters a dogs body, it changes the molecules on its surface in order to hide from the immune system. This is why many dogs do not get immediately sick, but may develop symptoms long after the tick bite.
Ticks can transmit disease even at an early life stage. Young ticks, known as nymphs , look like tiny black dots. Their legs are so small that you may not see them at first. Adult ticks have a black front half of the body and a wider brown back. You may not be able to see the ticks head if it has already latched onto your dog.
There is some suggestion that Retriever-type dogs may be slightly more susceptible to a severe form of Lyme disease. Studies from Europe found that Bernese Mountain Dogs may also be at increased risk for this severe form.
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What Are The Signs & Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
Some people dont have any symptoms at all when they get infected. When symptoms do happen, they can vary from person to person and often happen in three stages:
Two Early Stages
1. For the first few weeks, symptoms may include:
- a rash at the site of the tick bite, which usually is round or oval. Some rashes have a clear middle .
- neck stiffness and pain due to inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
If Lyme disease goes untreated for months, the earlier symptoms can continue. The person also can develop arthritis .
Prevent Lyme Disease In Dogs Month
As we transition from winter to spring and summerand since April is Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs Monthits a good time to talk about ticks and tick-borne diseases. As the weather warms up and we begin to spend more time outdoors, its important to remember that ticks are also transitioning from their winter dormant phase, hidden in the leafy debris, to their active feeding phase.
Deer ticks become active as soon as the temperatures rise to 4°C and they remain active all through the spring, summer, fall, and can still be active on warm winter days. Deer ticks carry the bacteria that causes Lyme diseasea tick-borne disease that causes painful lameness in dogs.
Lyme disease is transmitted to dogs through the bite of a deer tick. Once in the blood stream, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease is carried to many parts of the body and commonly localizes in the joints and kidneys. Deer ticks range from the Midwest to the Eastern United States and throughout Canada with the highest numbers found east of Manitoba. Not all deer ticks carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, but certain areas have been identified as higher risk areas for Lyme disease. Check with your veterinarian to find out if your area is a high-risk area.
Dogs cannot transmit Lyme disease to one another or to humans. The infection always comes directly from a tick bite.
You can help protect your pet from becoming infected with Lyme disease by:
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How To Avoid Tick Bites
To reduce the chance of being bitten:
- cover your skin while walking outdoors and tuck your trousers into your socks
- use insect repellent on your clothes and skin products containing DEET are best
- stay on clear paths whenever possible
- wear light-coloured clothing so ticks are easier to see and brush off
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How Can I Prevent Lyme Disease
- Avoid tick-infested areas, particularly in May, June, and July.
- Wear shoes, long pants tucked into socks or pant legs, and long sleeves when outside in areas where there are deer ticks.
- Use insect repellent with 20%-30% DEET around your ankles, other areas of bare skin, and clothes.
- Check for ticks, especially around the armpits, groin, scalp, belt line, neck and head after being in areas where there may be ticks.
- Remove deer ticks on your skin as soon as you see them.
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What Is Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is an infection caused by a type of bacteria. The bacteria can spread to humans through the bit of an infected tick. The infection can lead to problems with the skin, heart, brain, and joints. Treatment with antibiotics usually cures Lyme disease, especially when started early. Rarely, symptoms of Lyme disease can last after treatment.