What Is Post Treatment Lyme Disease
Post Treatment Lyme Disease represents a research subset of patients who remain significantly ill 6 months or more following standard antibiotic therapy for Lyme disease. PTLD is characterized by a constellation of symptoms that includes severe fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, sleep disturbance, depression, and cognitive problems such as difficulty with short-term memory, speed of thinking, or multi-tasking. In the absence of a direct diagnostic biomarker blood test, PTLD has been difficult to define by physicians, and its existence has been controversial. However, our clinical research shows that meticulous patient evaluation when used alongside appropriate diagnostic testing can reliably identify patients with a history of previously treated Lyme disease who display the typical symptom patterns of PTLD.
What Are The Clinical Signs Of Lyme Disease
Some people with Lyme disease develop a characteristic bull’s-eye rash at the site of the bite within three to thirty days. If this occurs, the disease can be easily diagnosed at an early stage.
However, signs of Lyme disease are more difficult to detect in animals than in people. The characteristic rash does not develop in dogs or cats. In fact, Lyme disease is practically unheard of in cats.
“Affected dogs have been described as if they were walking on eggshells.”
Many dogs affected with Lyme disease are taken to a veterinarian because they seem to be experiencing generalized pain and have stopped eating. Affected dogs have been described as if they were walking on eggshells. Often these pets have high fevers. Dogs may also begin limping. This painful lameness often appears suddenly and may shift from one leg to another. If untreated, it may eventually disappear, only to recur weeks or months later.
Some pets are infected with the Lyme disease organism for over a year before they finally show symptoms. By this time, the disease may be widespread throughout the body. Non-specific signs which may indicate that Lyme disease is affecting the kidneys include vomiting, lethargy, anorexia , and weight loss. The kidney form of the disease is less common, but often fatal.
Are Some Locations More At Risk Than Others
Yes and no. There are areas in which the bacteria is endemic meaning the disease is established and present more or less continually in that community.
In Canada, blacklegged tick populations have been confirmed or are growing in the following areas:
- Southern British Columbia.
- Southern New Brunswick and Grand Manan Island.
- South shore and northern mainland Nova Scotia.
However, it is important to note that ticks can be spread by birds, in particular songbirds that feed off the forest floor. Because these birds are migratory, there is the potential for new populations of the bacteria to spread across the country. This fact means that you do not have to be in an endemic or high-risk area to be at risk of contacting ticks and the disease.
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Should You Get A Test For Lyme Disease
If Lyme disease is treated soon after a tick bite, the outlook is great. Most cases of Lyme disease respond to a 2- to 4-week round of antibiotics.
If Lyme disease goes untreated, it can be more difficult to eliminate. For some, it can lead to inflammation of the joints, heart, and nervous system. Progression of the disease, and its severity, can vary from person to person.
Lyme disease is staged in categories: acute, early disseminated, and late disseminated. Later stages of Lyme disease may involve multiple systems in the body.
The most common sign of Lyme disease is an erythema migrans, or bulls-eye rash. The rash often appears after a delay of 3 to 30 days after the tick bite, according to the
Research from 2014 suggests that the bulls-eye rash may last for 3 to 4 weeks. About 80 percent of people with Lyme disease have a single erythema migrans rash. But the bacteria can spread and lead to multiple rashes, indicating disseminated Lyme disease.
While a rash is the most common symptom of Lyme disease, it isnt the only one.
With disseminated Lyme disease, symptoms can also include neurologic conditions, such as cranial nerve palsy and meningitis that mimics aseptic meningitis. Heart inflammation can also be a sign of Lyme disease.
If youre experiencing any of these signs or symptoms, an at-home test may help you identify Lyme disease. With the click of a button, a test can be shipped to your front door.
To select the best tests, we look at studies and user reviews.
How Does Lyme Disease Affect The Animal
- Wild mammals usually show no signs of illness
- In dogs, signs of disease can take up to 2 to 5 months to appear
- Lameness and joint pain may be seen
- Knees and elbows are most affected
- Lameness may shift from leg to leg or occur off and on
- Dogs may also have a fever
- The disease usually resolves on its own/some cases may last long-term
- Rarely, the bacteria may affect the kidneys or heart, which may result in death
- In cattle and horses, signs of disease are rarely seen but involve lameness or stiffness
- Tes, through a bite of an infected tick
- The tick must be attached at least 24h to transmit the bacteria
- Immature ticks are the primary source of transmission of Lyme disease in humans because they are generally smaller and thus harder to see
- In humans, disease vary from no illness to severe disease
- Symptoms start 1 to 2 weeks after infection, a small red bump may develop at the bite site which can then spread into a large circular bulls-eye type rash
- Not all people get the rash
- Other symptoms may include fever, body aches, stiff neck and headache
- The second stage of the disease occurs weeks to months later and involves pain in one or more joints, most common is the knee
- Pain will occur off and on and the joint may be swollen. This can continue for years.
- In rare cases, the bacteria may spread to the brain or heart
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What Time Of Year Are Ohioans At Risk For Contracting Lyme Disease
In Ohio, cases of Lyme disease are reported in every month of the year. However, the number of reported cases is lowest in the winter, gradually rises in the spring, peaks in the summer, then declines through late summer and autumn.
It can take anywhere from three to 30 days from when the tick bite occurs to when symptoms of Lyme disease appear. Since most cases get sick in July and August, that means most cases are bitten by an infected blacklegged tick between June and July. Therefore, late spring through mid-summer is the time of year when Ohioans are most at risk for contracting Lyme disease.
How Are Dogs Tested For Lyme Disease
Diagnosis is made by a combination of history, physical signs, and diagnostics. For dogs, the two blood tests for diagnosing Lyme disease are called the C6 Test and Quant C6 test. Veterinarians perform both.
The C6 test detects antibodies against a protein called C6. Presence of the antibodies suggests an active Lyme infection. The C6 antibodies can be detected three to five weeks after an infected tick bites a dog and may be found in the bloodstream even before the dog shows signs of illness.
The next step is to do a Quant C6 test. This, along with urinalysis will help determine if antibiotic treatment is necessary.
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What Do Testing Kits Typically Include
Depending on the method of collection, testing kits may include:
- a device to collect the blood, urine, or saliva sample
- a container to ship the sample back to the lab
- a shipping label
Some kits come with a bandage, wipes, and a biohazard bag. Kits may contain extras such as Styrofoam holders, labels, or tubes with varying solutions inside.
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
Intravenous antibiotics are used for some forms of Lyme disease, including those with cardiac or central nervous system involvement.
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.
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What Are The Stages Of Lyme Infection
There are three stages:
- Early localized Lyme: Flu-like symptoms like fever, chills, headache, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, and a rash that looks like a bull’s-eye or is round and red and at least 2 inches long
- Early disseminated Lyme: Flu-like symptoms like pain, weakness, or numbness in your arms and legs, changes in your vision, heart palpitations and chest pain, a rash , and a type of facial paralysis known as Bellâs palsy
- Late disseminated Lyme: This can happen weeks, months, or years after the tick bite. Symptoms might include arthritis, severe fatigue and headaches, dizziness, trouble sleeping, and confusion.
About 10% of people treated for Lyme infection donât shake the disease. They may go on to have three core symptoms: joint or muscle pain, fatigue, and short-term memory loss or confusion. This is called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. It can be hard to diagnose because it has the same symptoms as other diseases. Plus, there isn’t a blood test to confirm it.
Experts arenât sure why Lyme symptoms donât always go away. One theory is that your body keeps fighting the infection even after the bacteria are gone, like an autoimmune disorder.
How Do You Get Lyme Disease
The bacterial infection is transmitted by ticks, but not every tick bite will make you sick.
Now that winter has transitioned to spring and temperatures are warming up in much of the country, youre likely to start hearing a lot about Lyme disease. Rates of this tick-borne illness have been rising steadily in the United States over the last two decades, with most infections happening in April through October.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported each year. But that number only includes cases that are diagnosed and confirmed by doctors, and recent estimates suggest that more like 300,000 people might actually get sick from Lyme disease each year.
There is also a lot of misinformation out there about Lyme diseaseincluding how people actually get it in the first place. Health spoke with Daniel Kuritzkes, MD, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston, about what to watch out for and how to protect yourself.
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Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented
To prevent Lyme disease, you should lower your risk of getting a tick bite:
- Avoid areas where ticks live, such as grassy, brushy, or wooded areas. If you are hiking, walk in the center of the trail to avoid brush and grass.
- Use an insect repellent with DEET
- Treat your clothing and gear with a repellant containing 0.5% permethrin
- Wear light-colored protective clothing, so you can easily see any ticks that get on you
- Wear a long-sleeve shirt and long pants. Also tuck your shirt into your pants and your pant legs into your socks.
- Check yourself, your children, and your pets daily for ticks. Carefully remove any ticks you find.
- Take a shower and wash and dry your clothes at high temperatures after being outdoors
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Other Canine Diseases Carried By Ticks
Ticks can also carry several other less common but serious bacterial diseases affecting dogs, including anaplasmosis and babesiosis.
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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How Is Lyme Disease Spread
Not all deer ticks are infected with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Ticks can become infected if they feed on animals such as mice and other mammals that are infected. The disease can be spread when an infected tick bites a person and stays attached for a period of time. In general, the tick must be attached for 36 to 48 hours or more. Lyme disease does not spread from one person to another. Transfer of the bacteria from an infected pregnant woman to her fetus is extremely rare.
How Long Does It Take To Get Lyme Disease
Black-legged ticks must be attached for at least 24 hours before they can transmit Lyme disease. Always check yourself for ticks after spending time outdoors in the warm weather. If you can remove the tick properly within a day of being bitten, youre unlikely to contract Lyme. The Lyme disease incubation period is between three to 30 days.
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How Ticks Spread Disease
The tick feeding process makes ticks very good at transmitting infection:
- Depending on the tick species and its stage of life, preparing to feed can take from 10 minutes to 2 hours. When the tick finds a feeding spot, it grasps the skin and cuts into the surface. The tick then inserts its feeding tube. Many species also secrete a cement-like substance that keeps them firmly attached during the meal. The feeding tube can have barbs which help keep the tick in place.
- Ticks also can secrete small amounts of saliva with anesthetic properties so that the animal or person can’t feel that the tick has attached itself. If the tick is in a sheltered spot, it can go unnoticed.
- A blacklegged tick will attach to its host and suck the blood slowly for several days. If the host animal has certain bloodborne infections, such as the Lyme disease agent, the tick may ingest the pathogen and become infected. If the tick later feeds on a human, that human can become infected.
- After feeding, the blacklegged tick drops off and prepares for the next life stage. At its next feeding, it can then transmit the infection to the new host. Once infected, a tick can transmit infection throughout its life.
- If you remove a tick quickly you can greatly reduce your chances of getting Lyme disease. It takes some time for the Lyme disease-causing bacteria to move from the tick to the host. The longer the tick is attached, the greater the risk of acquiring disease from it.
Who Is At Risk For Lyme Disease
Anyone can get a tick bite. But people who spend lots of time outdoors in wooded, grassy areas are at a higher risk. This includes campers, hikers, and people who work in gardens and parks.
Most tick bites happen in the summer months when ticks are most active and people spend more time outdoors. But you can get bitten in the warmer months of early fall, or even late winter if temperatures are unusually high. And if there is a mild winter, ticks may come out earlier than usual.
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Treating Lyme Disease While Pregnant
Treatment for pregnant women with Lyme disease is similar to that of non-pregnant adults. However, certain antibiotics, such as doxycycline should not be used as it can affect your unborn child.
Research shows that there are no life-threatening effects on the child when a pregnant woman receives appropriate antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease.
Preventing Ticks And Lyme Disease In Dogs
Every dog owner, regardless of how at-risk your pet is, should take steps towards preventing ticks and fleas with medications and topical treatments. In addition to using your vets recommended products, owners should also:
- Inspect dogs and self for ticks after walks through the woods or grassy areas.
- Remove ticks as quickly as possible. Be sure to remove them properly and safely.
- Get your vet to conduct a full tick evaluation if you find one.
- Use all vet-recommended tick and flea prevention products.
- Keep the grass on your property cut short and avoid overgrown patches of grass.
- Make sure your dog has all the updated vaccinations and shots.
Pest control technicians also recommend cleaning both inside and outside your home if you find a tick on your dog. Make your home tick-free by:
- Keeping all vegetation trimmed
- Removing dead, rotted, scraggly, and overgrown plants and leaves
- Storing firewood properly at least 15 feet away from your home
- Inspect places for moisture buildup and use an absorbent mulch to clear the area
- Cleaning all bedding, clothes, linens, and dog toys with hot soapy water
If you do find a tick, do not crush it- it will attract more ticks by releasing a pheromone. If you find one, flush it down the toilet or put it in an air-tight container to see if you can get it tested.
Pest Brigade works with exterminators across the country and can find you a tick expert in your area. To speak to an exterminator today, call the number at the top of your screen.
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