Do Antibodies To B Burgdorferi Determine Active Infection
In untreated animals, antibodies to OspC and/or OspF are indicators of infection with B. burgdorferi. Many infected animals dont show clinical signs and maintain constant antibody levels to the pathogen. It is believed that many animals can control the persistent infection. However, increasing antibody values indicate re-activation of or re-infection with the pathogen.
In treated animals, antibody levels decrease slowly and are usually still detectable for several months if treatment was successful.
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:
What Do The Test Results Mean
Because there are three tests that are typically conducted for the Lyme disease blood test, then results can vary based on the combination of test results received. When all three tests are positive, then Lyme disease is likely. These other result combinations are usually interpreted in the following ways.
Positive IgM, Negative IgG, Negative Western Blot.This usually indicates that the Lyme disease infection is in its early stages or that the blood test has produced a false positive result.
Negative IgM, Positive IgG, Positive Western Blot.This is usually interpreted as having a late-stage Lyme disease infection. It may also be an indication that someone had a previous infection that has been removed from the body.
All results negative.This is usually interpreted as there not being any infection present and that the symptoms are being caused by another issue. In some specific instances, however, it can also be seen as the antibody levels being too low to detect.
Once Lyme disease is confirmed, there will almost always be detectable levels of the bacteria which causes the disease in the IgG antibodies in their blood. This will mean that their IgG blood test results will have a standard deviation in what is considered as normal because of the presence of the disease, even if it has been effectively cured.
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Reduce Ticks In Your Backyard
While many people used to believe you had to travel into a wooded area to come across ticks, many ticks are living right in their own backyard.
You can help reduce the possibility of ticks by ensuring that your lawn and property is not a suitable environment for ticks. Make sure your lawn is frequently mowed, trees and bushes trimmed to allow for sunlight and remove any weeds or brush from your yard. Remove any excess furniture and keep swing-sets and garbage away from wooded areas.
Additionally, you can create a barrier around your property of wooden chips or gravel to restrict tick movement and migration into the rest of your lawn.
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Can A Person Contract Lyme Disease Anywhere In The United States
The states that it is not possible to contract Lyme disease anywhere in the U.S. Most infections occur in the:
- northeast and mid-Atlantic, which includes northeastern Virginia to Maine
- north central states, typically in Wisconsin and Minnesota
- West Coast, mostly in northern California
Two tick species can carry B. burgdorferi in the U.S.: the blacklegged tick and the Western blacklegged tick .
Some people refer to the blacklegged tick as a deer tick. They live in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and north-central U.S. The Western blacklegged tick lives on the Pacific Coast of the U.S.
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Lyme Disease And The Cdc
In order for the Centers for Disease Control to recognize a Lyme case for surveillance purposes, there must be objective findings, such as positive blood tests, Bells palsy or joint swelling . The chart below reflects the CDC-reviewed surveillance case manifestations from 2001 to 2010.
This situation contributes to what many experts view as severe undercounting of Lyme disease by the CDC.
How Can I Get Lyme Disease
Most commonly Lyme Disease is acquired from the bite of an infected black-legged tick. In the United States, two types of black-legged ticks, Ixodes scapularis in the Northeast and upper Midwest and Ixodes pacificus in the West, transmit Lyme disease, caused by Borrelia burgdorferisensu stricto. Black-legged ticks in other parts of the world transmit B. burgdorferi and several other Borrelia species.
Black-legged ticks are also known to transmit Borellia miyamotoi and Borrelia mayonii, two bacteria that cause Lyme-like illnesses. The lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum is the vector or STARI, a Lyme-like illness of uncertain cause.
Ixodes ticks vary in size from a poppy-seed size nymphal tick to a sesame-seed size adult tick. Ticks can carry other infectious agents besides the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, including Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, Babesia, and possibly Bartonella. Infections involving multiple pathogens can be more difficult to diagnose and treat.
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Where Do Ticks Live And How Do They Get On Dogs
Ticks that carry Lyme disease are especially likely to be found in tall grasses, thick brush, marshes, and woods especially where deer populations are high. Ticks do not jump but only crawl and in seeking a host, will latch onto your dog when they pass by.
Lyme disease was named after a high number of cases that occurred in Lyme, Connecticut, in 1975, but cases in dogs have been reported in every state in the United States. However, Lyme disease is more common in some geographical locations specifically, the Northeast, upper Midwest, and northern Pacific coast. Dog owners who live or spend time in these areas should be aware of the symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs, as well as the preventative measures available.
How Do You Prevent Tick Bites
While there is no human vaccine against Lyme disease, the best form of protection from Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites.
Before going outdoors, be sure to spray yourself and clothing with a bug repellent that contains DEET. You can also find U.S Environmental Protection Agency approved insect repellent to suit your needs. If youre an avid camper or hiker, you can treat your clothing and gear with products that contain 0.5% permethrin that will last for several washings to ensure your protection.
Be sure to examine yourself thoroughly for ticks around your hairline, ears, armpits, groin, belly button and the back of your legs for ticks once you return indoors. The CDC suggests showering to help wash off potentially unattached ticks that you may not have seen. Examine your clothes and if possible, put them in the dryer for at least ten minutes to kill any ticks that may have made their way indoors.
Ticks often migrate through animals, meaning your pet could be a carrier or ticks into your home. Aside from asking your vet about a suitable tick prevention product, be sure to check your pet around the ears, eyelids, tail, collar and under their legs for ticks.
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Stage : Changing Skin
In stage 3, few signs of Lyme disease appear on the skin. Most problems occur in the heart and nervous system, and these can be serious.
Where you see signs on your skin: If you were in Europe when bit by a tick, you may see changes to your skin in this late stage. These changes usually appear on a hand or foot. Some people develop this change on both of their hands or feet. It can also occur on a knee, elbow, or elsewhere.
What the skin looks like: The skin begins to swell, and you may notice some redness. These signs are caused by having a bacterial infection for a long time. The affected skin may also feel sore.
In time, the skin starts to harden and shrink, causing deep lines to form. If you have hair in the area, it tends to fall out. The sweat glands can die, and the skin often becomes so thin that it tears easily. The medical name for this condition is acrodermatitischronical atrophicans.
In stage 3, you may also see tumors on your skin. It is believed that the long-term infection and swelling in the lymph nodes can lead to a cancer known as cutaneous B-cell lymphoma.
Skin starts to harden and shrink, causing deep lines to form
The medical name for this condition is acrodermatitis chronical atrophicans. Swelling, hardened skin, and deep lines on the foot of someone who has had Lyme disease for years.
When you see signs of changing skin and symptoms: These tend to occur months or years after you are bitten by a tick.
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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Signs And Symptoms Of Untreated Lyme Disease
Seek medical attention if you observe any of these symptoms and have had a tick bite, live in an area known for Lyme disease, or have recently traveled to an area where Lyme disease occurs.
Untreated Lyme disease can produce a wide range of symptoms, depending on the stage of infection. These include fever, rash, facial paralysis, and arthritis.
The appearance of the erythema migrans rash can vary widely.
- Fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes may occur in the absence of rash
- Erythema migrans rash :
- Occurs in approximately 70 to 80 percent of infected persons
- Begins at the site of a tick bite after a delay of 3 to 30 days
- Expands gradually over several days reaching up to 12 inches or more across
- May feel warm to the touch but is rarely itchy or painful
- Sometimes clears as it enlarges, resulting in a target or bulls-eye appearance
- May appear on any area of the body
- Does not always appear as a classic erythema migrans rash
- Severe headaches and neck stiffness
- Additional EM rashes on other areas of the body
- Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and other large joints.
- Intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
- Heart palpitations or an irregular heart beat
- Episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath
- Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
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How Do I Know If I Am Getting Tested Correctly For Lyme Disease
So we have already established that it is difficult to detect the presence of Lyme disease. But, thankfully, techniques and private testing have been developed to circumvent these complexities .
One technique is PCR which looks at Lyme antigens and the organisms DNA.
While PCR can be effective for detecting Lyme disease, knowing how to give this test is also important. In order to get a good reading, your lymph system needs to be moving. To increase lymphatic movement, here at Neurvana Health, we may use infrared sauna, exercise, or simply therapeutic ultrasound on various areas of the body where we think the infection may be present. To detect its presence, we can review your symptoms and where you experience pain. So we may look at memory problems and use ultrasound on the temporal, upper cervical regions and down the spinal cord. We may also use it on the joints, gallbladder or spleen.
What does the ultrasound do? Well, the infections have what we call Velcro proteins that allow them to attach to connective tissue. So the ultrasound breaks these proteins and the organisms get dispersed into the circulation where we can detect them. We can detect their DNA in blood or urine.
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Why Is Lyme Disease So Difficult To Diagnose
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted through the bite of infected deer ticks. One common symptom of Lyme is a red rash on the skin , that appears at the site of a tick bite usually within a week, but up to a month later. Some people may not experience a rash, or may mistake it for a spider bite. Other symptoms like fever, chills, headache, fatigue, joint aches and swollen lymph nodes may occur in the absence of a rash, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If Lyme is not diagnosed immediately, the bacteria start to spread to other parts of the body the joints, the nervous system and the heart. Eventually, arthritis sets in, along with extreme fatigue and general aches and pains. These can also be symptoms of other conditions, which is part of the reason why Lyme is difficult to diagnose. Aside from the initial rash, there are no symptoms that are specifically indicative of Lyme disease.
Theres also no definitive way to test for Lyme disease. There is no direct blood test for the bacteria that causes Lyme. Doctors have to rely on antibody tests, which merely measure the immune systems response to the bacteria. Further complicating matters, studies have shown that those tests arent always accurate and can have poor sensitivity and false results in some cases.
Until a foolproof test exists, diagnosing Lyme disease, especially late-stage Lyme, is an imperfect science.
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How Do Ticks Find Their Hosts
Ticks live in grasses and shrubs. They are not very mobile, and for this reason, they find their hosts by chance.
The tick must wait for potential hosts to brush past their location. If this occurs, the tick will attempt to climb onto them.
To climb onto their host, ticks use a technique that scientists call questing. When questing, the tick attaches itself to the tips of grasses or shrubs with its hind legs. It keeps its front legs outstretched. This readies it for grabbing onto potential hosts.
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What To Do If You Have A Blacklegged Tick Bite
Remove the tick by pulling it directly out with fine-tipped tweezers. Lift upward with slow and even pressure. Dont twist when removing it. Dont crush it or put soap or other substances on it. Dont apply heat to it.
Place the tick in a resealable container. See if you can identify what kind of a tick it is.
Immediately after removing the tick, wash your skin well with soap and water or with rubbing alcohol.
Not all ticks carry Lyme. The Lyme bacteria is transmitted only by blacklegged ticks in their nymph or adult stage.
Save the tick to show your doctor. The doctor will want to determine if its a blacklegged tick and if theres evidence of feeding. Ticks enlarge as they feed. Your risk of getting Lyme from an infected tick increases with the length of time that the tick fed on your blood.
Pull the tick out with tweezers and save it in a resealable container for identification.
What Criteria Do Doctors Use To Choose Different Antibiotics
Partly, doctors rely on what medicines have been shown in published studies to be effective for Lyme disease. For neurologic Lyme disease, the best tested antibiotic is IV ceftriaxone . For early Lyme disease, the best tested antibiotics include oral doxycycline, cefuroxime and amoxacillin. Physicians however often use other antibiotics well. For example, because one mouse study and several in vitro studies indicate that the agent of Lyme disease can penetrate and lodge inside cells, some doctors prefer to use medications that have good intracellular penetration ). Other factors that go into the decision include whether the patient is allergic to a particular family of antibiotics or whether the patient can tolerate oral medications intolerance might suggest the use of intramuscular penicillin whereas if a person is allergic to penicillins or cephalosporins a doctor would want to avoid long-acting intramuscular penicillin-family medicines.
To our knowledge, having had a Lyme disease infection that has been treated does not have a negative impact on the ability to become pregnant.
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Lyme Disease Symptoms Also Occur In Other Diseases
Many Lyme symptoms, such as fatigue, cognitive impairment, joint pain, poor sleep, mood problems, muscle pain, and neurological presentations also occur in other diseases. Hence, the symptoms of Lyme disease significantly overlap those of chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Parkinsons disease, ALS, depression and Alzheimers disease. Many Lyme patients report being misdiagnosed with a different condition before being properly diagnosed with Lyme disease.