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:
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.
What Do You Do If There’s A Tick Under Your Skin
Use a pair of fine-tipped tweezers to remove it as soon as possible. Pull upward with steady pressure. If parts of the tick are still in your skin, try to get those with the tweezers, too. After everything is out, clean the bite area with rubbing alcohol or soap and water.
You probably wonât get infected if you remove the tick within 36 to 48 hours.
How do you throw away a tick?
Put it in soapy water or alcohol, stick it to a piece of tape, or flush it down the toilet.
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Symptoms Of Post Treatment Lyme Disease
- Include severe fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, & cognitive problems
- Can significantly impact patients health and quality of life
- Can be debilitating and prolonged
Our research indicates the chronic symptom burden related to PTLD is significant. Although often invisible to others, the negative impact on quality of life and daily functioning is substantial for PTLD sufferers.
The chronic symptom burden related to Lyme disease is considerable, as shown on the left side of the graph above, and statistically significantly greater than the aches and pains of daily living experienced by the control group, on the right.
Recent Progress In Lyme Disease And Remaining Challenges
Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States with an estimated 476,000 cases per year. While historically, the long-term impact of Lyme disease on patients has been controversial, mounting evidence supports the idea that a substantial number of patients experience persistent symptoms following treatment. The research community has largely lacked the necessary funding to properly advance the scientific and clinical understanding of the disease, or to develop and evaluate innovative approaches for prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Given the many outstanding questions raised into the diagnosis, clinical presentation and treatment of Lyme disease, and the underlying molecular mechanisms that trigger persistent disease, there is an urgent need for more support. This review article summarizes progress over the past 5 years in our understanding of Lyme and tick-borne diseases in the United States and highlights remaining challenges.
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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.
Stage : Early Disseminated Lyme Disease
If stage 1 Lyme disease remains undiagnosed and untreated, it can progress to stage 2, or early disseminated, Lyme disease. This stage occurs 312 weeks after the initial tick bite.
The term disseminated indicates that the bacteria have spread throughout the body. At this stage, the infection may affect the following tissues:
A person who has progressed to stage 2 Lyme disease may develop new symptoms alongside those from stage 1. These new symptoms may include:
- new rashes across the body
- conjunctivitis or vision problems
- poor memory and concentration
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Can A Person Contract Southern Lyme Disease From Lone Star Ticks
Lone star ticks do not transmit Lyme disease. However, they can spread tularemia, ehrlichiosis, and southern tick-associated rash illness .
As with Lyme disease, STARI causes a rash that appears similar to a bulls-eye. The rash typically appears within 7 days of being bitten by a lone star tick.
Unlike Lyme disease, STARI does not appear to have an association with arthritis, chronic symptoms, or neurological problems.
Healthcare professionals do not know which pathogen causes STARI.
What Is Cdc Doing
CDC is currently conducting research to understand what concerns healthcare providers and the public may have about any potential Lyme disease vaccines. Once a Lyme disease vaccine is approved as safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration , CDC will work with the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to develop recommendations about where in the U.S. the public might benefit from a Lyme disease vaccine. CDC will communicate these recommendations to increase awareness of a vaccine among the public and clinicians to prevent Lyme disease in the United States.
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When Will The New Lyme Disease Vaccine Be Available
Currently, VLA15 is in the third phase of a clinical study in humans.
However, even if this study is successful, it will still be a good amount of time before we see this vaccine available, Dr. Kelley explains. The companies have stated that they would seek authorization in 2025, so the use of the vaccine is still a few years off.
Can You Cure Lyme Disease The Controversy Around Diagnosis And Treatment
- Lyme disease is tough to diagnose. Because of the current accepted protocol, and maybe a little insurance industry meddling, doctors diagnose Lyme disease as other conditions or miss it entirely.
- Lyme disease is the most common disease in the United States that you can get from a bug bite.
- The tick-borne disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, a spirochete and can cause symptoms ranging from a rash to arthritis to facial paralysis and more.
- Read on to find out why theres controversy around diagnosis and treatment, and what to do if you think you have Lyme disease.
When I was in my 20s and started doing my own research to figure out what was wrong with me, I brought my symptoms to my doctor and I found that they matched closely with Lyme disease, and a few other things. He told me that I wasnt trying hard enough, and I fired him. Soon after, I found out that I had Lyme disease, mold toxicity, leaky gut, and more.
Lyme disease is incredibly frustrating to deal with, both for patients and medical professionals. A big reason is its tough to diagnose. Because of the current accepted protocol, and maybe a little insurance industry meddling, doctors diagnose Lyme disease as other conditions or miss it entirely.
Heres how it typically goes:
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Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy For Lyme Disease
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves exposure to 100 percent oxygen at a high pressure. Its often in a room called a hyperbaric oxygen chamber to promote wound healing.
There isnt much research about the effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for Lyme disease. But a 2014 case study from Taiwan reports that it treated Lyme disease in a person who hadnt responded to antibiotics. Still, more large-scale studies are needed to understand whether its an effective treatment.
What Is The Treatment For Lyme Disease
The first-line standard of care treatment for adults with Lyme disease is doxycycline, a tetracycline antibiotic. Other antibiotics that have activity against borrelia include the penicillin-like antibiotic, amoxicillin, and the second generation cephalosporin, Ceftin. The mainstay of treatment is with oral antibiotics, but intravenous antibiotics are sometimes indicated for more difficult to treat cases of neurologic-Lyme disease, such as meningitis, and cases of late Lyme arthritis.
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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.
Where Are Ticks Found
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.
They 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.
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Transmission Of Bb Via Ixodes Spp Vectors
The black-legged ticks, Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes pacificus on the West Coast, are the primary vectors of Bb in the USA. In endemic areas, the proportion of Ixodes spp. ticks infected with Bb can be remarkably high. One recent survey of the pathogen burden of 197 Ixodes scapularis ticks collected from New York and Connecticut where LD is endemic, revealed 111 ticks were infected with Bb and 37 were co-infected with more than one human pathogen . The high pathogen burden is consistent with previous tick surveys in the same region . In contrast, the percent of infected ticks in other regions of the USA is much lower. In recently published surveys across California, for example, fewer than 5% of Ixodes spp. ticks were infected . Ixodes ticks sometimes carry multiple strains of Bb that may impact the course of disease in people that are co-infected. One tick survey showed that 39% of Ixodes ticks in North America are infected with multiple genotypes of Bb .
What Is The Staging For Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is categorized into three stages:
- Localized: Occurs within several days of the tick bite. Symptoms include redness and irritation at the site of the tick bite, along with flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, and muscle aches.
- Disseminated: Occurs within weeks of a tick bite. If untreated, the infection spreads to other parts of the body and new symptoms occur.
- Persistent: Late infection, may occur within months to years after the initial tick bite. Arthritis and neurological symptoms are common in this stage.
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What Is The Outlook For Someone With Lyme Disease
Most of the people who get Lyme disease and receive treatment early will be fine. Treatment can cure Lyme disease but you might still have some long-term effects. Untreated Lyme disease may contribute to other serious problems but its rarely fatal.
Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome
Even after proper treatment, some people may experience lingering fatigue, achiness or headaches. This is known as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome or PTLDS. The symptoms dont mean that you still have an infection. PTLDS probably wont respond to additional antibiotics. The majority of people in this group will have symptoms that resolve at some point over the next six months.
Chronic Lyme disease
Chronic Lyme disease is a term used by some for a condition in a person who had Lyme disease and the symptoms of PTLDS. Some people consider chronic Lyme disease to be the same as PTLDS. However, some people receive a chronic Lyme disease diagnosis without a Lyme disease diagnosis. Sometimes, extended treatment with antibiotics helps.
This term may be why some people think a Lyme disease infection can occur without being bitten by a tick. There isn’t enough proof that mosquitoes can transmit Lyme disease. Many researchers dislike using the term chronic Lyme disease.
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.
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Treatment Of Erythema Migrans Rash
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. For treating other manifestations, see www.cdc.gov/Lyme/treatment.
|30 mg/kg per day orally, divided into 2 doses||500 mg per dose||14|
*When different durations of antibiotics are shown to be effective for the treatment of Lyme disease, the shorter duration is preferred to minimize 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.
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 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.
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What Are The Risk Factors For Post Treatment Lyme Disease
Risk factors for Post Treatment Lyme Disease include:
- Delay in diagnosis
- Increased severity of initial illness
- Presence of neurologic symptoms
Increased severity of initial illness, the presence of neurologic symptoms, and initial misdiagnosis increase the risk of Post Treatment Lyme Disease. PTLD is especially common in people that have had neurologic involvement. The rates of Post Treatment Lyme Disease after neurologic involvement may be as high as 20% or even higher. Other risk factors being investigated are genetic predispositions and immunologic variables.
In addition to Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, there are several other tick-borne co-infections that may also contribute to more prolonged and complicated illness.
How Does The New Lyme Disease Vaccine Work
Essentially, the vaccine uses a previously established mechanism to target OspA proteins found in the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, known as Borrelia burgdorferi. OspA is immunogenic, meaning it is able to produce an immune response. This is critical in vaccine development, Dr. Kelley states.
Thus far, it looks like the vaccine has provoked a strong immune response, with limited adverse effects.
Its important to note that VLA15 would not protect against all tick-borne infections, Dr. Kelley adds. Lyme disease is just one of hundreds of vector-borne diseases that require serious and immediate medical attention.
There are six different OspA proteins designed to cover the strains of Lyme disease found in U.S. and Europe, says Dr. Michael Parry, MD, Thomas J. Bradsell Chair of Infectious Diseases at Stamford Health. The vaccine is given via injection in the arm, similar to a flu or COVID-19 vaccine. Most importantly, the vaccine gives antibodies that immobilize the bacteria carried in ticks, making it less likely to infect humans.
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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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