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How Was Lyme Disease Discovered

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Inspection And Tick Removal

Mayo Researchers Identify New Borrelia Species that Causes Lyme Disease

Because recommendations for avoidance are not always practical, particularly for children and during the summer, daily close inspection for ticks should be performed each time one has been outdoors. Parents of children in endemic areas must be vigilant to check for ticksespecially the nymphs, because of their smaller size from the spring to the fall. Checking inside skin folds, behind ears, the umbilicus, groin, axilla, hairline, and scalp must be routine. If one tick is found, search thoroughly for others.

See the image below for a tick removal diagram and instructions.

While these instructions may represent the optimal method for removing the tick, it is more important to remove it promptly than to delay removing it while obtaining forceps or gloves.

A common misperception is that pressing a hot match to the tick or trying to smother it with petroleum jelly, gasoline, nail polish, or other noxious substances is beneficial. This only prolongs exposure time and may cause the tick to eject infectious organisms into the body. Finally, do not squeeze, crush, or puncture the body of the tick because its fluids may contain infectious organisms.

Once the tick is removed, wash the bite area with soap and water or with an antiseptic to destroy any contaminating microorganisms. Additionally, the person who removed the tick should wash his or her hands. The removed tick should be submitted for species identification.

  • N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide

She Said She Had 3 Tampons In At Once

At the gynecologist’s office, Galeaz learned she had a tampon “stuck horizontally under cervix.”

“Taking it out hurt because it was dissolving inside me,” she said in the video. “It kept breaking apart and it was such an unpleasant experience.”

Galeaz said her doctors told her she likely had an infection caused by the stuck tampon, but her gynecologist did not believe that the same tampon had been inside her for two years.

During that two-year period, Galeaz said there was one occasion when she pulled out a tampon and a second one came out with it. She said she thinks there may have been three tampons inside her at once, although she does not have proof that the same tampon was stuck for the whole two years of her illness.

“Me and the tampon have since parted ways, which is a good thing,” she said.

Looking back, Galeaz said she thinks she never actually had Lyme disease, and that all her issues had stemmed down to the tampon being stuck.

A Brief History Of Lyme Disease In Connecticut

The history of Lyme disease in Connecticut began in 1975 when a cluster of children and adults residing in the Lyme, Connecticut area experienced uncommon arthritic symptoms . By 1977, the first 51 cases of Lyme arthritis were described, and the Ixodes scapularis tick was linked to the transmission of the disease. During 1982, Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, was discovered and the first brochure addressing Lyme disease was developed by the Arthritis Foundation. Serology testing became widely available in Connecticut during 1984. In 1987, Lyme disease became a reportable disease. All physicians were required to report any and all cases of the disease. By 1988, the news of Lyme disease spread and national media attention began. The first federal funding for Lyme disease surveillance, education, and research became available in 1991. The first Lyme disease vaccine became available in 1997. To help determine the efficacy of the vaccine, Lyme disease was made laboratory reportable in 1998. However, the manufacturer withdrew the vaccine from the market in 2001. In 2002, the vaccine efficacy study ended, and Lyme disease was removed from the list of laboratory reportable findings however, it remained a physician reportable disease.

This page last updated 7/1/2019.

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How Long Does Lyme Disease Last

They may last up to six months or longer. These symptoms can interfere with a person’s normal activities and may cause emotional distress as a result. However, most people’s symptoms improve after six months to a year. It’s not known why some people develop post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome and others don’t.

Management Of Deer Populations

A Twist of Lymeyet another disease you dont want

Deer do not get infected with the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. However, deer are a main source of the blood adult ticks need to reproduce. Some have proposed that culling deer populations through increased hunting will reduce the incidence of Lyme disease.The impact of deer reduction on tick abundance or Lyme disease has been examined in several studies with mixed results. Studies on islands indicate that culling deer populations reduces the tick population, but this approach is not practical or realistic in the contiguous United States, since deer are constantly migrating. Even if one town in Massachusetts were to increase hunting of deer, it would prevent immigration of deer from adjacent towns, and the impact of this strategy in decreasing human disease remains unproven. For more information on deer management strategies see MassWildlife.

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Promoting Collaborative Approaches To Understanding Lyme And Other Tickborne Diseases

Supporting coordinated research efforts through TickNET

CDCs TickNET program was established by CDC in 2007 to bring together expertise from state public health partners, CDC, and research scientists. TickNET fosters coordinated surveillance, education, and research on the prevention of tickborne diseases. For more information, see TickNETA collaborative public health approach to tickborne disease surveillance and research.

Funding state health departments to improve surveillance and prevention

CDC provides funds to state health departments for Lyme and tickborne disease surveillance through the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Diseases Cooperative Agreement. This money coupled with CDCs subject matter expertise helps state public health departments strengthen their ability to detect, respond to, control, and prevent Lyme and other tickborne diseases.

Supporting vector-borne disease Centers of Excellence

CDC has awarded nearly $50 million to five universities to establish regional Centers of Excellence to help effectively address emerging vector-borne diseases in the United States. Scientists and public health experts at the Northeastexternal icon and Midwestexternal icon Regional Centers of Excellence will have a strong research component involving the surveillance and control of disease-carrying ticks.

Supporting large-scale prevention research

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.

Lyme Disease by Week of Illness Onset, Ohio, 2012-2021


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Borrelia Burgdorferi Infectious Cycle

The infectious cycle of B burgdorferi involves colonization, infection of Ixodes ticks, and then transmission to broad a range of mammalian hosts, including humans. Variation in environmental and host conditions promotes different gene expression and changes in the composition of the membrane proteins of the spirochete. This adaptation is a critical step in the pathogenesis and transmission of Lyme disease.

The Ixodes tick progresses through four stages of development: egg, larva, nymph, and adult . Only larvae, nymphs, and adult female ticks require blood meals, and only ticks in the nymphal and adult stages can transmit B burgdorferi.

The life cycle of Ixodes ticks spans 2 years . The adult lays eggs in the spring, and the larvae emerge in the summer. The larvae feed once, in late summer, on any of a wide variety of small animals . The following spring, the larvae emerge as nymphs. Nymphs feed once, in the spring and summer. The white-footed mouse is the preferred feeding source of nymphs, but other animals apparently suffice. Nymphs molt into adults the following fall and feed once on a larger animal, with the white-tailed deer being the preferred host.

Ticks carry B burgdorferi organisms in their midgut. The bacteria are introduced into the skin by a bite from an infected tick, and disease is transmitted to humans as the spirochete is translocated from the gut to the salivary glands and then to the person at the site of the bite.

Racial Differences In Incidence

Tufts Researchers May Have Found New, More Efficient Lyme Disease Test

Lyme disease is reported primarily in whites, although it occurs in individuals of all races. No genetic explanation is known for this the disparity most likely stems from social or environmental factors and possibly to the fact that erythema migrans is more difficult to diagnose in dark-skinned individuals.

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Other Species Of Borrelia Discovered

Species of Borrelia that are known to cause Lyme disease are collectively called Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato. However, this broad classification includes many species and strains of disease-causing bacteria, which vary geographically and by the types of ticks that carry them.

Until recently, scientists recognized only three main species of Lyme-causing Borrelia:

  • afzelii Named after the Swedish dermatologist who discovered the bulls eye rash and its connection to tick bites, this is a species of Borrelia that causes Lyme disease in Europe and Asia
  • garinii Another species of Borrelia common in Eurasia
  • burgderfori sensu stricto As mentioned above, this species was discovered in 1982 and is predominant in North America, but is also present in Europe

However, to date, at least thirteen distinct genomic classifications of Lyme-causing Borrelia have been discovered worldwide, some of which are continent- or country-specific. In North America, for example, several cases of Lyme have been caused not by B. burgdorferi but by the separate species B. mayonii. This is not to mention the totally separate group of species of Borrelia that cause a distinct type of Borreliosis, known as Tick-Borne Relapsing Fever , that present with Lyme-like symptoms.

Common Lyme and TBRF Borrelia Species*


What Tests Are Used To Diagnose B Mayonii

Your healthcare provider may order a blood test to look for infection. Limited available information suggests that patients with B. mayonii infection develop antibodies that are similar to those of patients infected with B. burgdorferi. Therefore, Lyme disease serologic testing may help in diagnosing patients with B. mayonii. In some cases, B. mayonii bacteria may also be seen on a blood smear. Infection with B. mayonii can be specifically identified by Lyme disease molecular tests at Mayo Clinic. Lyme disease, including infection with B. mayonii, can be diagnosed without testing when patients have signs and symptoms consistent with Lyme disease and a history of possible exposure to blacklegged ticks.

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Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

Many people with early symptoms of Lyme disease develop a circular rash around the tick bite. The rash:

  • usually develops around 3 to 30 days after you’ve been bitten
  • is often described as looking like a bull’s-eye on a dart board
  • will be red and the edges may feel slightly raised
  • may get bigger over several days or weeks
  • is typically around 15 cm across, but it can be much larger or smaller

Some people may develop several rashes in different parts of their body.

Around 1 in 3 people with Lyme disease won’t develop a rash.

What Makes Yale Medicine’s Approach To Lyme Disease Unique

What is Lyme Disease? Facts and Preventive Measures

The discovery of Lyme disease is actually credited to two Yale physicians, who identified it after a rash of illnesses cropped up during the summer of 1975. That year, two mothers living in Old Lyme, Conn., refused to accept the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis among the children living in their town.

The mothers reached out to the Connecticut State Department of Health and the Yale School of Medicine for help, starting a study that would ultimately uncover the bacterial infection transmitted by ticks. Today, doctors in Yale Medicines neurology department provide care for patients who have infections that affect the nervous system.

Thanks to a powerful partnership with research programs at Yale Medicine, patients benefit from the most recent advantages in treatment.

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Lyme Disease Bacterium Came From Europe Before Ice Age

Wellcome Trust
The bacterium responsible for Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, originated in America, or so researchers thought. Now, however, scientists has shown that this bug in fact came from Europe, originating from before the Ice Age.

Researchers at the University of Bath have discovered that a bacterium that causes Lyme disease originated in Europe, rather than in North America as previously thought.

The bacterium responsible for Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, originated in America, or so researchers thought. Now, however, a team from the University of Bath has shown that this bug in fact came from Europe, originating from before the Ice Age.

In the study, researchers from the University of Bath and colleagues from the UK and USA studied the evolutionary history of the bacteria by looking at the sequences of eight so-called ‘housekeeping genes’, which evolve very slowly. They analysed 64 different samples taken from infected humans and ticks in Europe and America.

In all, 33 different combinations of the housekeeping genes were found. The study’s findings appear to show that Borrelia burgdorferi originated in Europe but that the species has been present in North America for a long time. The researchers suggest its re-emergence there in the 1970s occurred after the geographic territory of the tick that carries the bacteria expanded, for example through the restoration of woodland.


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How Was It Discovered

In 2013, scientists at the Mayo Clinic noticed an unusual result while testing blood from patients who were thought to have Lyme disease. Cooperation between Mayo Clinic, state public health agencies, and CDC confirmed that a new type of bacteria that infects people had been found in blacklegged ticks.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

If you’re bitten by an infected deer tick you’ll first see a skin rash, which appears in a bulls eye pattern around the area of the tick bite. If the rash is not detected and the infection is not treated, symptoms of Lyme disease will appear within a few weeks.

The initial symptoms may seem like the flu and could include fever, lymph-node inflammation, fatigue, aches, and headaches. If left untreated, the bacteria can, in a few weeks or months, spread to the heart, bones, and nervous system.

If the infection spreads to those organs, patients might experience pain, weakness, headaches, memory problems, pinkeye, joint pain and swelling, or rapid heartbeat. And if the infection is never treated, it can lead to such joint problems as arthritis and neurological problems such as memory loss.

Treatment Of Tick Bites

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Tick Removal

When a tick is found to be attached, it should be removed promptly with thin-tipped tweezers at a 90 degree angle, making sure to grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull upward with steady pressure, as illustrated in the image below.

It is important to remove the entire tick in one piece. The area where the tick was attached should be disinfected with rubbing alcohol or other disinfectant. The individual should retain the tick in a small plastic vial and take it to a health care provider as soon as possible.

The video below shows the correct method for removing a tick.

If an individual is bitten by a tick, a physician should be consulted if the answers to the following questions are “yes.”

  • Can the tick be identified as a deer tick? TLink to Tick Identification Card
  • Was the tick attached for at least one full day?
  • Has it been less than three days since you removed the tick?

Prophylactic Antibiotics

Many tick bites do not result in infection, and when infection does occur, most patients will manifest the characteristic skin rash. At present there is no evidence to support the use of prophylactic antibiotics after a tick bite in the absence of symptoms . However, the treating physician may recommend a single dose of doxycycline to adults or children when all of the following conditions are met:

  • Prophylaxis can be started within 72 hours of the time that the tick was removed
  • Doxycycline treatment is not contraindicated.
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    Evaluating Products Used By The Public

    A tick tries to avoid contact with permethrin-treated fabric in the laboratory. This behavior is called hot-footing.

    CDC and university partners have evaluated the effectiveness of permethrin-treated clothing as a way to prevent tick bites. Results from a pilot studyexternal icon and a follow-up show that treated fabric is highly irritating to ticks, causing them to drop off and stunting the activity for more than 24 hours afterwards.

    When Did Lyme Disease Originate

    A team of researchers led by the Yale School of Public Health has found that the Lyme disease bacterium is ancient in North America, circulating silently in forests for at least 60,000 yearslong before the disease was first described in Lyme, Connecticut, in 1976 and long before the arrival of humans.

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    Later Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

    More serious symptoms may develop if Lyme disease is left untreated or is not treated early. These can include:

    • pain and swelling in the joints
    • nerve problems such as numbness or pain in your limbs
    • memory problems
    • difficulty concentrating

    Some of these problems will get better slowly with treatment. But they can persist if treatment is started late.

    A few people with Lyme disease go on to develop long-term symptoms similar to those of fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. This is known as post-infectious Lyme disease. It’s not clear exactly why this happens. It’s likely to be related to overactivity of your immune system rather than continued infection.

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