Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
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Lyme disease is an underreported, under-researched, and often debilitating disease transmitted by spirochete bacteria. The spiral-shaped bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, are transmitted by blacklegged deer ticks. Lymes wide range of symptoms mimic those of many other ailments, making it difficult to diagnose .
The blacklegged ticks can also transmit other disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites. These are known as coinfections . These ticks that transmit Lyme are increasing their geographical spread. As of 2016, they were found in about half the counties in 43 of 50 states in the United States .
Lyme is the fifth most reported of notifiable diseases in the United States, with an estimated 329,000 new cases found annually . Some studies estimate that there are as many as 1 million cases of Lyme in the United States every year .
Most people with Lyme who are treated right away with three weeks of antibiotics have a good prognosis.
But if youre not treated for weeks, months, or even years after infection, Lyme becomes more difficult to treat. Within days of the bite, the bacteria can move to your central nervous system, muscles and joints, eyes, and heart .
Here is a list of 13 common signs and symptoms of Lyme disease.
Can Lyme Disease Be Sexually Transmitted
First of all, if you have been treated for Lyme disease, even if your Western blot is positive, it is very unlikely that there are any spirochetes still circulating in your bodily fluids. Second, there is no good documentation that Lyme disease can be contracted by sexual contact. Given the number of cases of Lyme disease that have been diagnosed over the last 20 years and the fact that there are have been instances where people with active infection are having sexual intercourse but have not yet been treated, one would expect there to be many well documented cases of suspect partner to partner transmission this is not the case. Therefore, for all these reasons, it is highly unlikely that a person could acquire Lyme disease through unprotected intercourse or other sexual contact.
How Do You Know If Youll Get Lyme Disease From A Tick Bite
Lyme disease is an infection caused by a a species of bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria is most commonly transmitted by the bite of a tick of the Ixodes genus. People who spend a lot of time outdoors in areas where ticks with this bacterium are present, are considered to be more at risk of Lyme disease, especially during the summer season.
If youre outdoors and youre bitten by a tick, one of the hallmark symptoms showing you may have been infected with Borrelia is whats known as a bullseye rash around the tick bite.
By bullseye, we mean the rash looks like a circle with some concentric rings expanding out from the insect bite. It may also just look like a red rash but it usually does look more brightly colored red at the outer edges. Take a look here to see some examples.
There is data to suggest only 30-50% of people infected with Borrelia get the bullseye rash so its important to note that absence of this rash does not mean you are safe from infection.
A red rash can be caused by other bites
Because some people are particularly sensitive to insect bites, at times people could be bitten by an insect and a standard rash gets confused with a rash signifying Lyme disease. So at this stage its very difficult to tell if the person whos been bitten will develop Lyme disease.
The acute stage of Lyme disease
If youre in an area prone to Lyme disease
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What Is Lyme Disease And How It Is Spread
Lyme disease is a condition that affects both dogs and humans, and is transmitted by the bite of infected black-legged ticks with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. The parasite contracts this bacteria when it bites animals such as deer or mice, which then carry it. It is for this reason that it is common among dogs that roam the countryside or natural environments.
It can affect dogs of any age and condition. The most important factor is to detect symptoms early to quickly address the problem and help your pet. At an early stage, this condition can be cured with antibiotics. However, if left to evolve, it affects areas such as joints, kidneys or the heart, with an unfavorable prognosis.
The Chance Of Getting Lyme Disease
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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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.
At What Point Do I Stop Antibiotics For The Psychological Symptoms Of Lyme Disease And Conclude That These Symptoms Will Not Go Away
The cause of the psychological symptoms in Lyme disease is unclear. It is clear that patients with acute Lyme disease who develop new onset depressive symptoms or irritability or cognitive disturbances often show a remarkable improvement when given antibiotic therapy. If the psychological symptoms persist or if the initial symptoms are severe, it is very important to consult with a psychiatrist to evaluate how best to treat these symptoms apart from the antibiotic therapy. When symptoms continue even after a repeated course of antibiotic therapy, this could be due to the fact that an activated immune system results in a change in neurotransmitter functioning. As a result, the altered neurotransmitter function may contribute to ongoing depressive symptoms, even after the immune system is no longer activated. Treatment of the psychiatric symptoms at that point would require anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medications or psychotherapy.
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Late Lyme Disease Symptoms
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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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What Do You Do If You Become Ill
Consult your health care provider right away if you develop symptoms of Lyme disease after being bitten by a tick or if you visited a known at risk area for Lyme disease. The earlier a diagnosis is made, the greater the chance of a successful treatment.
If you saved the tick that bit you, bring it to your medical appointment. Tell your doctor:
- how long you estimate that the tick was attached to you
- where you were when you were bitten by the tick
Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented
If youre travelling to an area where ticks are common, especially in spring or summer:
- wear long sleeves, long pants and long socks
- use insect repellent containing DEET
- check your body carefully and regularly
Remove ticks as soon as possible.
It is important to kill the tick first to prevent more saliva from being forced into the wound. Kill the tick with a product that quickly freezes it, such as a spray used to treat warts. Then gently remove it with tweezers when it is dead. This method will also lower your chances of developing an allergy to ticks. If you are allergic to ticks, you need the tick to be removed by a doctor.
Read more about preventing and treating insect bites.
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Treatment For Erythema Migrans
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.
|100 mg, twice per day orally||N/A|
|500 mg, three times per day orally||N/A|
|500 mg, twice per day orally||N/A|
|4.4 mg/kg per day orally, divided into 2 doses||100 mg per dose|
|50 mg/kg per day orally, divided into 3 doses||500 mg per dose|
|30 mg/kg per day orally, divided into 2 doses||500 mg per dose|
*When different durations of antibiotics are shown to be effective for the treatment of Lyme disease, the shorter duration is preferred to minimize unnecessary antibiotics that might result in 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.
Other Canine Diseases Carried By Ticks
Anaplasmosis can involve symptoms similar to those for Lyme disease. Babesiosis can present with a wide range of symptoms, from sudden and severe shock, high fever, and dark urine to a slowly progressing infection with more subtle clinical signs. Diagnosis of both diseases includes blood tests similar to those used to check for Lyme disease.
Sometimes, dogs and people can become sick with co-infection of multiple tick-borne diseases, where more than one type of disease-causing bacteria is transmitted through a tick bite. This situation can make diagnosis and treatment even more challenging and difficult.
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Learn The Stages Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease occurs in three stages: early localized, early disseminated and late disseminated. However the stages can overlap and not all patients go through all three. A bulls-eye rash is usually considered one of the first signs of infection, but many people develop a different kind of rash or none at all. In most cases, Lyme symptoms can start with a flu-like illness. If untreated, the symptoms can continue to worsen and turn into a long-lived debilitating illness.
Stage 1: Early Localized Disease
Symptoms with early localized Lyme disease may begin hours, a few days or even weeks after a tick bite. At this point, the
infection has not yet spread throughout the body. Lyme is the easiest to cure at this stage.
Symptoms may include:
- skin rash, which may or may not look like a bulls eye
- flu-like illness, including chills and fever
- muscle soreness and joint pain
- swollen lymph nodes
- sore throat
Stage 2: Early Disseminated Lyme
Early disseminated Lyme may occur several weeks or months after the tick bite. Bacteria are beginning to spread throughout the body. In addition to flu-like symptoms, this stage is often characterized by increase in symptoms such as:
- pain, weakness or numbness in the arms, legs
- vision changes
- heart problems, such as palpitations, chest pain
- rash may appear on body
- facial paralysis
Stage 3: Late Disseminated Lyme Disease
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Treatment Of Lyme Disease
Given that it is a bacterial infection, treatment for Lyme disease in dogs begins with antibiotics. In addition, the veterinarian may also recommend the intake of pain medication to relieve discomfort for the pet. The amount of antibiotics and duration of treatment depends on the dog’s condition however, medication is usually given for a month to ensure the complete elimination of the bacteria.
If the infection has progressed sufficiently, the animal may still experience pain and joint discomfort even after the bacteria has disappeared, as an aftermath of the disease. Only in more serious cases where kidney or heart complications arise will the animal need hospitalization.
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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.
Are There Any Diseases That Can Be Misdiagnosed As Lyme Disease
Lots of diseases could be misdiagnosed as Lyme disease. This of course makes sense when you know that Lyme disease itself may manifest as a multisystemic disorder that can mimic other diseases. This means that just as the Lyme disease might be “missed” in some cases, some individuals may be misdiagnosed as having Lyme disease when in fact they have another disease. Erring on either side of this diagnostic divide can be dangerous. Given that the main symptoms that afflict patients with Lyme disease are fatigue and pain and given that these are non-specific symptoms seen in a wide ranges of diseases, including cancer, hematologic, and endocrine disorders, one has to make sure to rule out other reasonable causes of fatigue and pain before making the diagnosis of Lyme disease. It is also important to realize that a patient can have two independent diseases – Lyme disease and another emergent condition. For example, concurrent depression,sleep apnea or hypothyroidism may exacerbate fatigue in a patient with actual Lyme disease.
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When Should You See A Doctor If You Think You Have Lyme
The rash is a pretty good indication that you may have been bitten. Take a photo of the rash and see your doctor. At this stage, treatment with antibiotics will probably work.
If you don’t have the rash but have symptoms like fatigue, fever, and headache but no respiratory symptoms like a cough, you may want to talk to your doctor.
What Are The Roles Of Other Animals In Lyme Disease Transmission
|Deer are not directly involved with Lyme disease transmission. However, they are the preferred host of the adult blacklegged tick and are therefore important in maintaining tick populations.|
|Dogs are susceptible to tick bites and tickborne diseases like Lyme disease. Lyme disease infections in dogs are not a significant risk factor for human infection because dogs are considered “dead-end” hosts for the bacteria . However, dogs can bring infected ticks into the home.|
|Rodents, especially deer mice and white-footed mice are important hosts for Lyme disease pathogens. Juvenile ticks become infected with Lyme disease bacteria when they feed on infected mice. The ticks may then pass the infection on to future hosts, including humans and pets.|
|Ticks, specifically the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis, acquire Lyme disease bacteria from rodents.|
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