What Are The Complications Of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease affects people differently. Relapse and incomplete treatment responses happen. Relapse and incomplete treatment responses happen. Complications of untreated early-stage disease include:
Frequent hospitalizations to manage the disease
Some of these complications result in chronic, debilitating conditions.
Some people may develop post-Lyme disease syndrome . A condition also known as chronic Lyme disease includes PLDS, but also other syndromes. Usually, these are characterized by persistent musculoskeletal and peripheral nerve pain, fatigue, and memory impairment.
How Is Lyme Disease Treated
Your healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment for you based on:
How old you are
Lyme disease in the earliest stage is usually treated with antibiotics for 2 to 3 weeks.
Treatment will also be considered based on these and other factors:
If you are bitten by a tick that tests positive for the bacteria that causes Lyme disease
If you are bitten by a tick and have any of the symptoms
If you are bitten by a tick and are pregnant
If you are bitten by a tick and live in a high-risk area
How Is Lyme Disease Diagnosed
Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose because symptoms are not consistent and may mimic other conditions. The primary symptom is a rash, but it may not be present in up to 20% of cases.
Diagnosis for Lyme disease must be made by a healthcare provider experienced in recognizing Lyme disease. Diagnosis is usually based on symptoms and a history of a tick bite. Testing is generally done to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions. This may need blood and other lab tests.
Research is underway to develop and improve methods for diagnosing Lyme disease.
The symptoms of Lyme disease may look like other medical conditions or problems. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
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Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center
Lyme disease season has arrived. Experts say the peak will hit in June or July, but they are already seeing tick bites this year.
Lyme disease is marked by symptoms like fever, chills, and tiredness along with a round, red rash or lesion. The rash does not always appear in the bullseye pattern we may expect from Lyme. Any rash at the site of the bite that is red, round, and getting bigger should be looked at be a medical professional. Symptoms typically appear one to two weeks after the tick has been removed.
To prevent bites, wear protective clothing while outdoors. Always check yourself for ticks when you come inside, paying special attention to areas you may not always think about, such as the backs of your knees or scalp. Ticks are about the size of a poppy seed, so check yourself by feel as well – ticks can be hard to see!
Learn more here.
Researchers Used Advanced Imaging Scans To Observe White Matter Differences In Small Cohort Of Lyme Patients
- Johns Hopkins Medicine
- In a study using specialized imaging techniques, researchers report distinctive changes in the ‘white matter’ and other brain tissue physiology of those with post-treatment Lyme disease, a condition affecting 10% to 20% of the nearly half a million Americans who contract Lyme disease annually.
In a study using specialized imaging techniques, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers report distinctive changes in the “white matter” and other brain tissue physiology of those with post-treatment Lyme disease, a condition affecting 10% to 20% of the nearly half a million Americans who contract Lyme disease annually.
The study’s findings, published October 26 in the journal PLOS ONE, substantiate and help validate that memory, and other cognitive difficulties experienced long-term by individuals with post-treatment Lyme disease, are linked to functional and structural changes in the brain.
Lyme disease, whose early symptoms may include a characteristic rash, flu-like aches and fever, joint pain, and fatigue, is treated using a rigorous course of antibiotics, which usually clears the illness.
Spearheaded by lead author Cherie Marvel, Ph.D., the team recruited 12 male and female post-treatment Lyme disease patients, and 18 participants without a history of Lyme, to undergo fMRI scans while performing a short-term memory task.
Funding for the project was provided by an anonymous donor to John Aucott.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Lyme Disease Clinical Consultations
Our researchers have undertaken a comprehensive, retrospective analysis of persons referred for Lyme disease to the Johns Hopkins Infectious Diseases clinic. Data will help gain an understanding of reasons why referrals are sought, clinical diagnoses and how both diagnostic and therapeutic decisions are formed.
What Is Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is an infection caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. This spiral shaped bacterium is most commonly spread by a tick bite. The disease takes its name from Lyme, Connecticut. This is where the illness was first identified in the United States in 1975.
Although Lyme disease is a year-round problem, April through October is considered tick season. Cases of Lyme disease have been reported in nearly all states in the U.S. and in large areas in Europe and Asia, but the most common areas are the Northeast, upper Midwest and northwestern states.
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Lyme Disease And Tick
Lyme disease patients have difficulty finding doctors with experience treating Lyme disease. For the past 25 years, LymeDisease.org has been connecting patients with Lyme-literate practitioners who specialize in caring for patients with Lyme disease.
We are happy to connect you with your nearest Lyme literate practitioners contact information. Please note, however, we are not privy to the status on each individual offices payment/insurance practices or if they are accepting new patients, with that said, we do encourage you to use the information available to contact the offices directly.
How Has Lyme Disease Expanded Since Its First Discovery
Lyme disease, was first discovered in the United States in Lyme, Connecticut, in the mid-1970s and is now the most common US vector-borne disease. The estimated cumulative number of Americans struggling with chronic symptoms relating to Lyme disease may be as high as 1.9 million in 2020.
The number of new cases in the US exceeds 476,000 a year.
Lyme disease is spreading geographically and is hyper-endemic in the northeast and mid-Atlantic, upper Great Lakes region, and west coast. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease have been found in half of all US counties. Lyme disease is a worldwide health epidemic and a growing problem in regions such as Canada, Europe, and Asia.
Lyme disease is spreading geographically, as illustrated by the CDC maps below.
Reported Cases of Lyme Disease- United States, 2018
Note that Massachusetts, an endemic state, is no longer reporting Lyme Disease cases
Reported Cases of Lyme Disease- United States, 2001
Ticks that Transmit Lyme Disease are spreading geographically and are found in half of US Counties.
Map A shows tick distributions 1907-1996. Map B shows 1907-2015.
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Lyme Disease Clinical Management
If not accurately diagnosed and treated, Lyme disease infection may progress to affect the cardiac, neurological, and musculoskeletal systems. Overdiagnosis of Lyme disease may lead to unintended consequences such as vascular catheter complications or bacterial superinfections such as C. diff. Therefore, accurate, early-stage diagnosis would as current FDA-approved testing for Borrelia burgdorferi is least accurate in the first week or two after acquiring the infection. The Fisher Center is participating in a clinical research study that may lead to the development of a new diagnostic test for early Lyme disease that may also have implications as corresponding with microbiological cure of the infection. This research study is sponsored by MicroB-plex, Inc. of Atlanta, GA.
Antibiotics for the neurological complications of Lyme disease. Cadavid D, Auwaerter PG, Rumbaugh J, Gelderblom H. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016 Dec 8 12:CD006978. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006978.pub2. Review. PMID: 27931077
Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center Will Explore Causes Cures For Ailment That Afflicts 300000 Costs $13 Billion Annually To Treat
Fundamental research into the causes and cures of post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome now has its first home base at a major U.S. medical research center with the launch of the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center earlier this month.
First discovered in Lyme, Connecticut, 40 years ago, Lyme disease has spread rapidly throughout the East Coast and Midwest. It now afflicts more than 300,000 people per year, making it the sixth most common reportable infectious disease in the U.S.
The center, supported by a major gift from the Lyme Disease Research Foundation, plans an ambitious research program targeting this increasingly common disease, which costs the U.S. economy up to $1.3 billion per year in treatment costs alone.
“If you live anywhere from Maine to Virginia, it’s almost impossible for Lyme disease not to affect someone you know, someone in your family or yourself,” says center founder and director John Aucott, a Johns Hopkins internist.
Aucott, an assistant professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins, has spent more than a decade studying the disease’s potentially crippling effects.
The Lyme Disease Research Foundation has also helped establish repositories of blood and tissue samples from patients with Lyme disease at Johns Hopkins, providing researchers with opportunities to collaborate in the search for disease biomarkers that could lead to improved diagnostics and treatment.
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Verna Scheeler Bsha Ma
Clinical Research Program Manager
Verna keeps our clinical and epidemiological studies up to date with any research related regulatory and safety regulations. She manages all the collaboration agreements with our research partners in our expanding research networks. She also oversees our study enrollment sites, including managing satellite sites from Pennsylvania to southern Maryland.
Pioneering Multidisciplinary Research In Lyme Disease
The Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center is focused on patient-based research in all manifestations of Lyme disease.
Our mission is to understand and urgently address the varied manifestations of Lyme disease and translate our pioneering multidisciplinary research into improved patient care, education, and health outcomes.
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What Should You Do If You Find A Tick
Don’t touch the tick with your bare hand.
Use a pair of tweezers to remove the tick. Grab the tick firmly by its mouth or head as close to your skin as possible.
Pull up slowly and steadily without twisting until it lets go. Don’t squeeze the tick, and don’t use petroleum jelly, solvents, knives, or a lit match to kill the tick.
Save the tick. Place it in a plastic container or bag so it can be tested for disease, if needed.
Wash the bite area well with soap and water and put an antiseptic lotion or cream on the site.
A Ticking Timebomb: When Lyme Disease Doesnt Really Go Away
Ticks are evil. Deer ticks are even worse: little dots of evil, the size of a freckle. They spread Lyme disease, and what can happen next sounds like a horror movie.
But first, the ticks: They are the minuscule vectors that transmit Lyme disease. But really what they transmit are corkscrew-shaped bacteria called spirochetes. Spirochetes are real lowlifes in the disease world another devastating disease they cause is syphillis. Although deer get the blame for the epidemic of Lyme disease that has hit the East Coast particularly hard, theyre just a truckstop for the ticks a place to grab a quick meal. Deer are immune to Lyme disease, but they are an important food source for the ticks that transmit it, says John Aucott, M.D., an infectious diseases specialist and renowned expert on Lyme Disease, and the founding physician of the Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center. No, the real source, or reservoir, for these nasty spirochetes are rodents such as the white-footed mouse.
You may not even know youve been bitten unless you happen to see a telltale, bullseye-shaped rash which may or may not show up after the tick sucks your blood and in return gives you the gift that keeps on giving.
Basically, at every stage, Lyme disease has the potential to be misdiagnosed especially if nobody connects whats happening to the bite of a pencil point-sized tick.
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No Definitive Tests Or Treatments
Because there are no definitive tests or treatments for this condition, patients who have symptoms can be dismissed by the medical establishment. Many are denied medications such as antibiotics they believe can control the chronic infections they suspect they have.
I am the former chair of the Tick-Borne Disease Working Group at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and a medical researcher who has studied chronic Lyme disease for 20 years. It has become obvious to me that the problem is deeper and more complex than the polarized debate over the controversy would make one believe.
My colleagues and I have closely followed the health of Lyme disease patients as they recover, and what we have discovered runs counter to the mainstream teaching about Lyme disease. Doctors still often dont know how to accurately diagnose patients with Lyme disease, and patients dont always get better, even when they are diagnosed and treated. Physicians lack the diagnostic tools for early diagnosis or for documenting cure of the disease.
Studying this subgroup of post-treatment Lyme disease patients who are treated for Lyme disease but dont get better is a clue on my way to find to understand chronic Lyme disease. While it may not provide definitive answers yet, we hope it will add to the body of knowledge about this perplexing set of conditions that are likely diverse in origin.
Aucott: Polarizing Debate Over Chronic Lyme Disease Is Deep And Complex
Her symptoms started quickly: neck pain, extreme fatigue and intermittent fever and chills. The woman had been healthy until then, and since she enjoyed gardening and landscaping at her rural Maryland home, she wondered if a tick bite might have given her Lyme disease although she had not noticed the telltale bulls-eye skin lesion.
Her doctor told her it was likely just a virus. The next day, she felt worse and went to the emergency room, where she was diagnosed with mononucleosis.
The woman, a nurse in her 40s, returned to the emergency room a few weeks later with breathing trouble and low blood pressure. Doctors tested her for Lyme disease and found it had spread to her heart, a rare manifestation of Lyme disease that can be fatal.
Antibiotics resolved her heart and respiratory symptoms, but the fatigue, as well as joint pain and trouble concentrating, continued. Doctors told her it was just the recovery process, but the symptoms were debilitating and didnt go away. It wasnt until several months later, when she got a second opinion, that she was diagnosed with post-treatment Lyme disease, a known complication of Lyme disease.
I felt dismissed and abandoned, she later told me. No one stopped to listen to my story and advocate for me.
Her experience gives insight into a highly controversial medical term: chronic Lyme disease.
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Erica Mihm Kozero Bs Ccrp
Senior Research Program Coordinator
Erica specializes in managing the collection of research participant data. She schedules and meets with participants directly, gathers data, and enters the data into our electronic system to be analyzed. She also assists with the satellite sites regarding data entry questions and research materials.
Patients Stories & Testimonials
For the past 10 years, I have had the privilege of working with over a thousand individuals with Lyme. Many of those individuals would describe themselves as cured from Lyme and left that part of their lives behind. Others would say that they are significantly better with some lingering issues. Yet there are some that I have been unable to help, to the degree we both wished. Below, are some testimonials of these that have had permanent and significant improvements.
Jennifer from Ontario, May 2017
When my daughter was six-years-old she became sick. First she had pain in her foot. This slowly increased to strange aches and pains, muscle cramping, and occasional minor limping. Her symptoms progressed to high anxiety, hallucinations , skin burning at the lightest touch, and other odd sensations as well. All of her symptoms were fleeting would come and go without warning.
If she had been bitten by a tick I never saw any sign of it. She saw many doctors and had many tests performed, but everything came out negative. I tried a naturopathic doctor but she did not help.
James from Newmarket, Ontario. 2011
I have been trying to figure out how to thank the person who quite literally saved my life.
Two years ago I truly believed that at best I had another 5 years to live. However, by the summer of 2009, at 45 years of age, I began to realize that I have as good a chance of having a normal life expectancy as anyone else. An amazing revelation.
Doug, April 2013
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All Tickborne Diseases Are On The Rise Nationally And Globally
The urgent public health problem of Lyme disease requires a swift, comprehensive solution. Doctors disagree on the best therapy and federal research funding has been limited.
Public health’s fresh approach to science-driven problem-solving is designed to answer crucial questions such as:
- How does the disease originate at the molecular level and then spread from ticks to human hosts?
- What are the best policies for containment and eradication?
Our vision is clearer and more urgent than ever. Smallpox was the first disease to be eradicated globally, using a multi-pronged attack by microbiologists, vaccine specialists, epidemiologists, clinicians, policy makers, advocates, and community workers. Similar collaborative efforts are targeting polio and parasitic worms. Lyme disease and all tickborne illnesses should be next.
Establish the Johns Hopkins Lyme and Tickborne Diseases Research and Education Institute
The Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health will host the Institute, where premier public health researchers can collaborate with medical school colleagues as well as national and international organizations such as the Global Lyme Alliance. Arturo Casadevall, chair of MMI, envisions the Institute as both a research hub and a critical training ground for the next generation of young scholars.
Estimated costs for the Institute: