Stage : Early Localized Disease
Symptoms of Lyme disease usually start 3 to 30 days 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 its not painful and doesnt itch. This rash will gradually fade in most people.
The formal name for this rash is erythema migrans.
Some people with lighter skin have a rash thats solid red. Some people with darker skin 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:
Youll have a general feeling of being unwell. 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.
Autoimmune Reaction In The Brain
Her various infections, including Lyme, have caused an autoimmune disease that causes her brain to attack her dopamine receptors. This has caused horrific OCD symptoms which would have caused her to end her life had we not found great relief with intravenous immunoglobulin treatments. . I left my engineering career to care for her in 2006, and I am still a major source of support for her.
We have spent several hundred thousand dollars out of our own pockets to try to get my daughter well. Our insurance company has spent more than that.
Things get slowly better, but she is still not self-supporting and we have concern for her future. We are very fortunate most people cannot afford the amount of treatment we have been able to give our daughter.
My daughters story is not the worst-case scenario. She now has a positive quality of life after years of that not being the case. Some people never get that far. This is what CAN happen if Lyme disease is not aggressively treated at the very beginning.
Everyone reacts to Lyme differently. Some people, even though extremely sick, respond well to standard ILADS treatment and soon put the disease behind them forever. Some people, like my daughter, just cant clear it, even after years of treatment.
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 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 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.
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.
Lyme Disease: How To Prevent Detect And Treat
The arrival of spring and rising temperatures means the return and multiplication of ticks. The month of May is dedicated to raising awareness of Lyme disease and helping to educate the public about the symptoms and cause of this disease.
In Europe, it is considered the most widespread vector-borne disease* in theregion and more than 360,000 cases have been reported over the past two decades. In France, the Pasteur Institute reported an estimated annual incidence rate of approximately 53 per 100,000 people between 2009 and 2017.
On this occasion, UNRIC interviewed Dr. Océane Sorel, a specialist in virology, immunology and member of the United Nations Team Halo**, about this disease. You can also find her on Instagram, @thefrenchvirologist where she popularizes medical science with humour.
What is Lyme disease?
It is an infectious disease caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. It is transmitted by a tick bite infected with the bacteria.
When an infected tick bites you, the bacteria passes into your body through its saliva, then multiplies and spreads.*
It takes some time for the bacteria to be transmitted, which is why the risk of infection is usually low when the tick is on your body for less than 24 hours.
This disease is transmitted only through tick bites and cannot be transmitted from human to human.
What are the symptoms?
There may also be flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, headache or body aches.
When and how to get diagnosed?
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How Is It Diagnosed
If youÃ¢ve been outside in an area where ticks are known to live, you should tell your doctor. TheyÃ¢ll also want to know about the symptoms youÃ¢re having. These details are crucial to making a diagnosis of Lyme disease.
Early symptoms that usually occur within the first month after a tick bite can include:
- Rash at the site of the tick bite that may look like a Ã¢bullÃ¢s-eyeÃ¢
- Racing heart
- Problems with your short-term memory
Symptoms that come and go are common with Lyme disease. They will also depend on the stage of the disease.
Diagnosis Of Lyme Disease
The diagnosis of Lyme disease can be made clinically or in conjunction with laboratory test results. When the skin rash is typical and when a patient has been exposed to an environment where blacklegged ticks are known to be established, the diagnosis can be made on clinical grounds alone. In parts of Canada where adventitious, unestablished populations of blacklegged or western blacklegged ticks have been noted, a clinical diagnosis is more challenging. When the rash is atypical or occurs in circumstances in which exposure to the appropriate vector tick species was unlikely, diagnosis is based on the demonstration of a serological response to B burgdorferi. Immunoglobulin M antibodies are usually detectable within weeks of the onset of symptoms however, a significant proportion of patients with EM may not have detectable antibody at the time of initial presentation . Furthermore, when patients are treated very early in the course of illness, antibodies may not develop. When an initial antibody determination is negative, it is suggested that a second serum specimen be collected four weeks later.
Current evidence suggests that commercially available enzyme immunoassays used for the purpose of screening are sufficiently sensitive .
Antigen detection has also been used in both spinal fluid and urine. As with NAT, antigen tests cannot be recommended unless their sensitivity and specificity significantly improve .
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How Does Lyme Disease Work
The bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi causes Lyme disease when it get into your bloodstream. You may experience a variety of symptoms, depending on the stage of infection.
Early on, typical symptoms of Lyme disease include fever,chills, headache, joint aches and most distinctively a spreading rash thatresembles a bulls-eye.
But if itisnt identified and treated within 36 to 48 hours, the infection can spread toother parts of your body, including the heart and nervous system.
The later,more serious stages of Lyme disease can lead to neurological damage andarthritis.
How Is Lyme Disease Treated
Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics. In most cases, people bitten by a tick are given antibiotics only if they are sick or have a rash. If you are bitten by a tick but dont get sick or get a rash, you dont need antibiotics.
Early-stage Lyme disease responds very well to treatment. In most cases, taking an antibiotic for 2 to 4 weeks kills the bacteria and clears up the infection. Your doctor will tell you how long to take the antibiotic. Its important to take all the medicine your doctor prescribes. This will prevent the spread of Lyme disease to your joints, nervous system, or heart. If you have problems with the medicine, do not quit taking it. Call your doctor and talk to them about your side effects.
Late-stage Lyme disease is also treated with antibiotics. It may be necessary to give the antibiotics intravenously at this stage. Medicine that reduces swelling and pain can ease arthritis associated with late-stage Lyme disease. If necessary, excess fluid can be drained from any affected joints.
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Who’s At Risk And Where Are Ticks Found
The risk of getting Lyme disease is higher:
- for people who spend time in woodland or moorland areas
- from March to October because more people take part in outdoor activities
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.
It’s thought only a small proportion of ticks carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Being bitten doesn’t mean you’ll definitely be infected. However, it’s important to be aware of the risk and speak to a GP if you start to feel unwell.
Laboratory Testing In Vaccinated Individuals
In 1998 the Food and Drug Administration approved a recombinant OspA vaccine for use in patients at risk of acquiring LD . Since the efficacy of the vaccine is reported to be in the range of 76% after three doses, there will be instances where vaccinated individuals acquire natural infection with B. burgdorferi sensu lato. ELISAs and IFA assays utilizing OspA-producing strains of B. burgdorferi sensu lato will not discriminate between vaccinated and naturally infected individuals. Therefore, the CDC two-step algorithm is not applicable to vaccinated patients and immunoblotting must be relied on for serologic confirmation of infection. In addition to increasing costs, the issue is complicated further by reports that some vaccinated patients produce antibodies that bind to various borrelial proteins, making interpretation of immunoblots more difficult . This will continue to be problematic until ELISAs and other first-line assays based on non-OspA-producing strains or recombinant borrelial proteins are in widespread use and physicians become aware of the specific limitations of the testing methods provided by their laboratories .
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Who Gets Lyme Disease
Anyone bitten by an infected deer tick can get Lyme disease. Most U.S. cases of Lyme disease happen in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. But Lyme disease is also found in other parts of the U.S., Europe, and Asia.
Other things that might increase a person’s risk include:
- spending a lot of time outdoors in tall grass, brush, shrubs, or wooded areas
- having pets that may carry ticks indoors
- activities such as yardwork, hiking, camping, fishing, or hunting in tick-infested areas
Antimicrobial Herbs That Kill Growing Phase Spirochetes & Cysts
Intracellular and Extracellular
Based on my observations, these herbal combination options have as good of a chance as the prescription options. They appear to kill intracellular and extracellular Lyme too based on the clinical benefit I see in my medical practice.
- Cats Claw and Otoba Bark Tinctures 30 drops of each 2 times a day. Start at 5 drops 2 times a day and add 1 drop per dose per day until you reach 30 drops 2 times a day. If you get a Herxheimer reaction, stop increasing the dose until it has passed.
- Cats Claw and Japanese Knotweed 30 drops of Cats Claw 2 times a day and ½ tsp of Japanese Knotweed 3 times a day. Work up to these doses over 30 days. Start Cats Claw at 5 drops 2 times a day and add 1 drop per dose per day until you reach 30 drops 2 times a day. Start the Japanese Knotweed at ¼ tsp 3 times a day and in two weeks increase to ½ tsp 3 times a day.
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Laboratory Tests For Diagnosing Lyme Disease
Diagnosis relies on clinical observations and laboratory tests for the presence of antibodies against the B. burgdorferi bacteria. Since it can take several weeks for antibodies to develop against the bacteria, lab tests help confirm the diagnosis. If Lyme disease goes undetected and untreated, the disease will continue to progress and symptoms may appear months after the tick bite. Some patients who have untreated Lyme disease are hospitalized because the bacteria can affect the brain, the nervous system and the heart.
The CDC recommends a two-step laboratory blood sample test to accurately diagnose Lyme disease. New tests are also being developed as alternatives to the two-step process but still require review and clearance from the Food and Drug Administration.
It is not always necessary to obtain a blood test to confirm early Lyme disease since the necessary protein antibodies in the blood that make a test positive may take many days to form. Thus, it is common to have a negative blood test early in infection. If a patient is at risk and might have an infection early, it is usually better to treat for Lyme disease rather than rely on a blood test. Blood tests are more helpful for late disease that may have gone untreated early in the infection course.
Treating Lyme Disease: When Will Science Catch Up
Cases of Lyme disease appear to be rising but there are still many unanswered questions about the condition, its diagnosis and the available treatment options.
K H Kjeldsen / Science Photo Library
After being bitten by ticks in her Devonshire garden, a spreading rash appeared on Stella Huyshe-Shiress hip. Soon afterwards, her health began to deteriorate but she had no idea what was causing her pain, lack of energy and other problems. It was three years before a positive blood test confirmed Lyme disease, a test Huyshe-Shires asked for after recognising her symptoms in a letter about the spread of the tick-borne illness in a local newspaper.
I was getting lots of things wrong with me and its not the sort of thing you expect to happen to you until youre 80, explains Huyshe-Shires, who was 48 years old when she got the rash. By the time she was diagnosed, her list of ailments was long. She had lost half a stone, experienced pain in her back, legs and feet, felt numbness in her face and other parts of her body, had reduced reflexes in her eye, as well as distorted hearing, critical fatigue and poor concentration. The disease was having an impact on every aspect of her life.
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Can Lyme Disease Be Cured
Most Lyme disease cases can be cured with a two- to four-week course of antibiotics, says Dr. Kaufman. This is especially true if youre treated in the early stages of infection, which is why its so important to be aware of any potential exposure and symptoms.
In rare cases, however, some patients will continue experiencing symptoms such as pain, fatigue and numbness, and will be diagnosed with post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome.
The Swiss Agent: Long
Lyme disease is a serious problem here in the United States and we really need to find solutions to some of the limitations that we have, particularly in diagnosing this infection, said Claudia Molins, a microbiologist at the CDC. We want a test that can be used within the first two weeks of infection and that does not rely on antibody production.
So Molins and her colleagues are focusing on metabolomics an approach that, rather than testing directly for the immune response to the infection, instead looks for a wide spectrum of collateral damage.
Specifically theyre looking for so-called metabolite biosignatures: the litany of sugars, peptides, lipids, amino acids, fatty acids, and nucleotides normally present in the blood.
Infections like Lyme, the thinking goes, change the levels of these things and they do so in a predictable, measurable way.
Molins and her team tested that hypothesis by tapping a unique CDC resource freezers filled with well-characterized blood serum samples. They used serum from 89 early Lyme patients, within the first month of infection, and 50 healthy controls to develop an algorithm to detect Lyme blood signatures.
The researchers then tested that algorithm on a larger sample of serums and found that they could diagnose 88 percent of early Lyme cases, and could differentiate Lyme from other diseases 93 percent of the time. The results were published in a 2015 study in Clinical Infectious Diseases.
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Questions To Ask Your Veterinarian
If your dog has a positive Lyme test but no symptoms of the disease or protein in the urine, ask your veterinarian why he or she is recommending treatment. Experts currently recommend against antibiotic therapy under these circumstances because the dogs immune system is holding the bacteria in check and antibiotics are unable to eliminate the infection.
Dogs who have contracted Lyme disease do not develop prolonged, protective immunity and can be reinfected at a later date. Talk to your veterinarian about how best to prevent future infections. Options include measures to prevent the ticks that carry Lyme disease from biting your dog and Lyme vaccination.