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How Common Is Lyme Disease

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Where Are Ticks Found

CDC: How to spot signs, symptoms of Lyme disease

Ticks are found throughout the UK and in other parts of Europe and North America. There are a high number of ticks in the Scottish Highlands.

They can be found in any areas with deep or overgrown plants where they have access to animals to feed on.

They’re common in woodland and moorland areas, but can also be found in gardens or parks.

New Cdc Statistics: Nearly Half A Million People Diagnosed With Lyme Disease Annually

The CDC has announced that the number of people diagnosed each year with Lyme disease has climbed to approximately half a million, which is a jump of 59% over the 300,000 estimate previously listed on the CDCs website. This is based on new research in two studies in the publication Emerging Infectious Diseases.

The Aftermath Of A Tick Bite

Lyme disease is a zoonotic disease, meaning a disease spread between animals and humans. It is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi, which lives in mice and deer. These corkscrew-shaped bacteria, called spirochetes, get into black-legged ticks when they feed on an infected animal. They migrate to the ticks salivary glands, and, if the tick bites a person, are injected into the bloodstream. An excellent illustration by The Boston Globe depicts this life cycle.

In some people, the immune system destroys the bacteria before they can do any damage. In others, they grow and multiply, causing an infection. Symptoms include a bulls-eye-shaped rash, fever, headache, and fatigue. Treatment with antibiotics can usually prevent any short- or long-term repercussions, says Dr. Shmerling.

If the infection isnt treated, problems can develop in other parts of the body, including the joints, heart, and nerves. It can also cause arthritis that persists months or years after the tick bite.

Some people with Lyme disease and some doctors have argued that Borrelia burgdorferi can somehow evade courses of antibiotics and become a chronic infection that needs long-term antibiotic treatmenteven though conventional antibody tests are negative. Chronic Lyme disease has been blamed for causing pain, fatigue, muscle aches, loss of memory and thinking skills, and a host of other problems.

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How You Get Lyme Disease

If a tick bites an animal carrying the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, the tick can become infected. The tick can then transfer the bacteria to a human by biting them.

Ticks don’t jump or fly. They climb on to your clothes or skin if you brush against something they’re on. They then bite into the skin and start to feed on your blood.

Generally, you’re more likely to become infected if the tick is attached to your skin for more than 24 hours. Ticks are very small and their bites are not painful, so you may not realise you have one attached to your skin.

What Happens At Your Appointment

Lyme Disease

The GP will ask about your symptoms and consider any rash or recent tick bites you know about.

Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. It has similar symptoms to other conditions and theres not always an obvious rash.

2 types of blood test are available to help confirm or rule out Lyme disease. But these tests are not always accurate in the early stages of the disease.

You may need to be retested if you still have Lyme disease symptoms after a negative result.

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How Much Does It Cost To Treat A Horse For Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a relatively big problem for horses. The cost for treatment usually depends on the type of diagnosis, severity of infection, type of treatment, location, and if veterinary care is necessary for anything outside of administering antibiotics.Symptoms of Lyme disease are not always obvious, which means diagnosis can be difficult. However, if the horse shows common symptoms of Lyme disease fever, lethargy, swollen joints or pain their vet should be able to diagnose them quickly and recommend treatment.The cost of treatment ranges from around $400-$500 per horse, with antibiotics costing about $20-$40 each at retail prices. Veterinary care also has an associated cost that ranges from about $100-$300 per horse depending on how many treatments are needed and their severity.

What Causes Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by bacteria that is spread to humans by tick bites. The ticks that carry the spirochete are:

  • Black-legged deer tick

  • Western black-legged tick

Ticks prefer to live in wooded areas, low-growing grasslands, and yards. Not all ticks carry the Lyme disease bacteria. Depending on the location, anywhere from less than 1% to more than 50% of the ticks are infected with it.

While most tick bites are harmless, several species can cause life-threatening diseases. Tick-borne diseases include:

  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever

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Early Detection And Prevention

If you know a tick has bitten you or you have symptoms that indicate Lyme disease, diagnosis and treatment are essential. The sooner you receive treatment, the better your chances of a full recovery.

If you are experiencing symptoms, there is a two-step blood test to check for Lyme disease antibodies: An enzyme-linked immunoassay test, followed by a Western blot test.

However, it can take weeks for antibodies to develop and be detected by blood tests. Therefore, your initial test may be negative if you were recently infected. Since antibodies remain for months or even years, a blood test can not determine whether treatment is effective.

There are some ways to prevent tick bites, which include:

  • Knowing where ticks live
  • Washing clothes in hot water after hiking or being outdoors
  • Checking gear and pets
  • Showering within two hours after you’ve been outdoors
  • Checking for ticks
  • Monitoring for any symptoms

Unusual Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

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This brings us to unusual symptoms of Lyme disease, especially in chronic cases.

Uncommon chronic Lyme disease symptoms may include the following :

  • Shooting pain or generalized pain

These symptoms may come along with common issues like fatigue and joint pain, and they may also come and go. You might also notice that many of these symptoms are quite general and could pertain to any number of conditions. This is how chronic Lyme disease earned the nickname the great imitator, making it difficult to diagnose in the late stages .

Some additional conditions that can occur with chronic Lyme disease include fibromyalgia, meningitis , inflammation of the heart , Parkinsonism , carpal tunnel syndrome, and arthritis .

This isnt to say that you should worry about developing these conditions. We only mention them because, although theyre not considered common, they have occurred in some cases. These conditions also underline the importance of finding a Lyme-literate practitioner and pursuing diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.

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What Are The Treatments For Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics. The earlier you are treated, the better it gives you the best chance of fully recovering quickly.

After treatment, some patients may still have pain, fatigue, or difficulty thinking that lasts more than 6 months. This is called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome . Researchers don’t know why some people have PTLDS. There is no proven treatment for PTLDS long-term antibiotics have not been shown to help. However, there are ways to help with the symptoms of PTLDS. If you have been treated for Lyme disease and still feel unwell, contact your health care provider about how to manage your symptoms. Most people do get better with time. But it can take several months before you feel all better.

Lyme Disease By Ethnicity

According to a study on health disparities associated with Lyme disease in the United States, the incidence of Lyme disease was highest in areas of socioeconomic advantage. People who reported Lyme disease were more likely to be White and college educated, and less likely to live below the poverty line. The researchers noted that other studies have reported both similarities and differences to these findings regarding tick-borne diseases in relation to socioeconomic factors.

Researchers have found that Black Americans tend to be diagnosed with Lyme later than White Americans. One study examined the differences in Lyme disease diagnosis between Black and White participants. In a sample of Medicare beneficiaries, researchers found that 34% of Black participants were diagnosed when they had advanced neurological symptoms compared to 9% of White participants who waited until this time.

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Over A Million Patients Struggling With Persistent Lyme Disease

Research has shown that up to 34% of Lyme patients have symptoms post-treatment. Many clinicians and scientists believe that the persistence of bacteria is the cause of these lingering symptoms, so, while the CDC calls this post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, many experts believe it is more accurate to use the term persistent Lyme disease. These studies demonstrate the existence of persistent infection, giving validity to this term.

The Chance Of Getting Lyme Disease

Lyme disease and other tick

Not all ticks in England carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.

But it’s still important to be aware of ticks and to safely remove them as soon as possible, just in case.

Ticks that may cause Lyme disease are found all over the UK, but high-risk places include grassy and wooded areas in southern and northern England and the Scottish Highlands.

Ticks are tiny spider-like creatures that live in woods, areas with long grass, and sometimes in urban parks and gardens. They’re found all over the UK.

Ticks do not jump or fly. They attach to the skin of animals or humans that brush past them.

Once a tick bites into the skin, it feeds on blood for a few days before dropping off.

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What If My Symptoms Continue Or Come Back After Treatment

Follow-up is a mainstay of care for patients with Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections. If symptoms have not resolved, if they return after treatment is stopped, or if new symptoms develop, it is important for your healthcare provider to consider persistent infection as a possible cause of your illness. The bacteria that cause Lyme disease have been shown in the lab as well as in animal and human studies to be able to survive despite antibiotic treatment.

Make sure to discuss other conditions and symptoms with your doctor. A provider must take into account pre-existing conditions, other illnesses, as well as co-infections from other tick-borne organisms, when mapping out a treatment course.

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Stages Of Lyme Disease And Their Common Symptoms

If you have already been diagnosed with Lyme disease, learning about Lyme stages can help you know what symptoms you might experience. Youll also be able to watch for signs that could mean that your Lyme disease has progressed. Lyme disease symptoms are more likely to progress if you have not been appropriately treated.

If you dont have a Lyme disease diagnosis, its helpful to know that Lyme disease can cause a variety of seemingly unrelated symptoms throughout your body. If you develop symptoms listed below, especially after youve gotten a tick bite or spent time in an area where Lyme disease is common, you can ask your doctor whether you might have Lyme disease and if you should be tested for it. .

There are three stages of Lyme disease. Early localized, or Stage 1, Lyme disease occurs soon after being infected, when Lyme bacteria are still close to the site of the tick bite. Common symptoms of early localized Lyme disease include a rash or mild, flulike symptoms. Over time the Lyme bacteria can spread, or disseminate, to other parts of the body, causing more serious symptoms associated with early disseminated or late disseminated Lyme disease. This is more likely if you are not diagnosed and treated early.

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What Is The Outlook For Someone With Lyme Disease

Most of the people who get Lyme disease and receive treatment early will be fine. Treatment can cure Lyme disease but you might still have some long-term effects. Untreated Lyme disease may contribute to other serious problems but its rarely fatal.

Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome

Even after proper treatment, some people may experience lingering fatigue, achiness or headaches. This is known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome or PTLDS. The symptoms dont mean that you still have an infection. PTLDS probably wont respond to additional antibiotics. The majority of people in this group will have symptoms that resolve at some point over the next six months.

Chronic Lyme disease

Chronic Lyme disease is a term used by some for a condition in a person who had Lyme disease and the symptoms of PTLDS. Some people consider chronic Lyme disease to be the same as PTLDS. However, some people receive a chronic Lyme disease diagnosis without a Lyme disease diagnosis. Sometimes, extended treatment with antibiotics helps.

This term may be why some people think a Lyme disease infection can occur without being bitten by a tick. There isn’t enough proof that mosquitoes can transmit Lyme disease. Many researchers dislike using the term chronic Lyme disease.

What Should You Do If You Find A Tick

Lyme disease has similar symptoms to COVID-19
  • Don’t touch the tick with your bare hand.

  • Use a pair of tweezers to remove the tick. Grab the tick firmly by its mouth or head as close to your skin as possible.

  • Pull up slowly and steadily without twisting until it lets go. Don’t squeeze the tick, and don’t use petroleum jelly, solvents, knives, or a lit match to kill the tick.

  • Save the tick. Place it in a plastic container or bag so it can be tested for disease, if needed.

  • Wash the bite area well with soap and water and put an antiseptic lotion or cream on the site.

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Headaches Brain Fog Pain

For years, Reid experienced headaches, brain fog, pain and generally felt unwell.

I just knew that I was really sick, and I didnt know why, she explained. I was shuffled around to different departments and about a dozen different doctors, and I felt my symptoms were completely ignored.

Reid is an equestrian and enjoyed riding her horse on trails. As her symptoms worsened, she stopped competing and even eventually needed to stop working.

If I do a little bit today Im going to end up basically being on the couch all day tomorrow, she said. Not just because of physical pain. Yet, no one could explain her persistent ailments.

Headaches were the biggest . That was really what landed me at the doctors office and in the hospital, she said. I was experiencing a lot of brain fog and depression, unexplained allergies, pain and other puzzling symptoms and extreme fatigue.

Doctors never considered Lyme disease.

The biggest problem we see is that doctors dont believe theres Lyme disease in California or they think its so rare theyll never see a patient with it, despite the fact that its been here for decades, Wendy Adams, research grant director at Bay Area Lyme Foundation, told TODAY. Theres probably thousands of cases of Lyme disease each year in California, and so they will see Lyme disease cases. They just dont know theyve seen the disease.

Adams said its common that California residents receive a later diagnosis.

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:

  • Some people who receive antibiotics early in disease may not have a fully developed antibody response or may only develop an antibody response at levels too low to be detected by the test.
  • Antibodies against Lyme disease bacteria usually take a few weeks to develop, so tests performed before this time may be negative even if the person is infected. In this case, if the person is retested a few weeks later, they should have a positive test if they have Lyme disease. It is not until 4 to 6 weeks have passed that the test is likely to be positive. This does not mean that the test is bad, only that it needs to be used correctly.
  • 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.

    The most common co-infections that occur with Lyme disease are anaplasmosis and babesiosis. In general:

    References:

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    History Of Lyme Disease

    Lyme disease gets its name from a small coastal town in Connecticut called Lyme. In 1975, a woman brought to the attention of Yale researchers an unusual cluster of more than 51 cases of mostly pediatric arthritis. In 1977, Dr. Allen Steere and Yale colleagues identified and named the 51 clusters Lyme arthritis.” In 1979, the name was changed to “Lyme disease,” when Steere and colleague Dr. Steven Malawista discovered additional symptoms linked to the disease such as possible neurological problems and severe fatigue. In 1982 the cause of the disease was discovered by Dr. Willy Burgdorfer. Dr. Burgdorfer published a paper on the infectious agent of Lyme disease and earned the right to have his name placed on the Lyme disease spirochete now known as Borrelia burgdorferi.

    Treatment Of Erythema Migrans Rash

    Free Vector

    People treated with appropriate antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover rapidly and completely. Early diagnosis and proper antibiotic treatment of Lyme disease can help prevent late Lyme disease. Treatment regimens listed in the following table are for the erythema migrans rash, the most common manifestation of early Lyme disease. These regimens may need to be adjusted depending on a persons age, medical history, underlying health conditions, pregnancy status, or allergies. Consult an infectious disease specialist regarding individual patient treatment decisions. For treating other manifestations, see www.cdc.gov/Lyme/treatment.

    Lyme Disease treatment regimens

    30 mg/kg per day orally, divided into 2 doses 500 mg per dose 14

    *When different durations of antibiotics are shown to be effective for the treatment of Lyme disease, the shorter duration is preferred to minimize adverse effects, including infectious diarrhea and antimicrobial resistance.

    NOTE: For people intolerant of amoxicillin, doxycycline, and cefuroxime, the macrolide azithromycin may be used, although it is less effective. People treated with azithromycin should be closely monitored to ensure that symptoms resolve.

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