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Lyme Disease In Young Children

Lyme Disease symptoms

There is currently very little published medical research documenting Lyme disease symptoms in young children, and none on babies, or on patients in the UK.

One research paper describes the neurological symptoms in 96 children in North America. The main symptom in this category was encephalitis , which children would experience as very severe headache and blurred vision, which could eventually become blindness:

The most frequent neurologic symptom was headache, and the most common sign was facial palsy. Less common manifestations were sleep disturbance, and papilledema associated with increased intracranial pressure. Signs and symptoms of peripheral nervous system involvement were infrequent. The most common clinical syndromes were mild encephalopathy, lymphocytic meningitis, and cranial neuropathy . In contrast with adult patients with neurologic Lyme disease, meningoradiculitis and peripheral neuropathy syndromes were rare.

Link to source: Neurologic manifestations in children with North American Lyme disease by A. L. Belman et al

How Can I Prevent My Dog From Getting Lyme Disease Or Other Tick

Recommendations on preventing ticks include these from AKCs Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Jerry Klein:

  • Inspect your dogs and yourself daily for ticks after walks through the woods or grassy settings. On dogs, look especially on the feet , on lips, around eyes, ears , near the anus, and under the tail.
  • Remove ticks stat. The quicker you find them the less likely your dog will contract a secondary illness related to tick bites. Learn the proper method of tick removal. Invest in a pair of fine tweezers used for this purpose. If you are unable to do so, consult with a veterinarian.
  • Ask your veterinarian to conduct a tick check at each exam. Theyll be able to find any you may have missed.
  • Prevent ticks from jumping on your dog with one of the many veterinary-approved flea and tick preparations available on the market. Speak to your veterinarian to find the best and most appropriate product for your dog.
  • Keep grass mowed as short as possible. Refrain from walking into grassy patches in endemic tick areas if you can.
  • Get your dog vaccinated. Vaccination could prevent your dog from getting Lyme disease. They may not be appropriate for some dogs, so discuss with your vet.

Treating Dog Lyme Disease

If the diagnosis is Lyme disease, your dog will be treated as an outpatient unless their condition is unstable . Doxycycline is the most common antibiotic that is prescribed for Lyme disease, but other antibiotics are also effective.

Treatment usually takes at least 4 weeks, and longer courses may be necessary in some cases. Your veterinarian may also prescribe an anti-inflammatory if your dog is especially uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, antibiotic treatment does not always completely eliminate the infection from Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. Symptoms may resolve but then return at a later date, and the development of kidney disease in the future is always a concern.

Administering the antibiotics properly to your dog reduces the likelihood of chronic consequences.

Improvement in sudden inflammation of the joints caused by Borrelia should be seen after 3-5 days of antibiotic treatment. If there is no improvement within 3-5 days, your veterinarian will want to reevaluate your dog.

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What Is Post Treatment Lyme Disease

Post Treatment Lyme Disease represents a research subset of patients who remain significantly ill 6 months or more following standard antibiotic therapy for Lyme disease. PTLD is characterized by a constellation of symptoms that includes severe fatigue, musculoskeletal pain, sleep disturbance, depression, and cognitive problems such as difficulty with short-term memory, speed of thinking, or multi-tasking. In the absence of a direct diagnostic biomarker blood test, PTLD has been difficult to define by physicians, and its existence has been controversial. However, our clinical research shows that meticulous patient evaluation when used alongside appropriate diagnostic testing can reliably identify patients with a history of previously treated Lyme disease who display the typical symptom patterns of PTLD.

What Is The Prognosis After Delayed Treatment

7 Early Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

There are relatively few data examining the effects of delayed treatment. Two retrospective studies showed that patients who had a longer duration of symptoms before treatment were more likely to have persistent subjective musculoskeletal and cognitive symptoms. However, there were no objective physical findings or neurocognitive testing abnormalities compared with uninfected controls . Similar findings were reported in patients involved in studies of early Lyme disease, in which it was found that those who did not receive treatment on initial presentation with facial palsies were more likely to have body pain, physical limitations and a lower physical composite score on the SF36 compared with controls who received antibiotics at the time of presentation. They were also more likely to have mild neurocognitive symptoms, but their overall mental composite score on the SF-36 standardized form was not different from that of the control group .

Recommended Reading: Doctors Who Treat Chronic Lyme Disease

What Is The Risk Of Lyme After A Tick Bite

While studies are limited in numbers and size, data from the US and Europe suggest that the risk of acquiring Lyme disease, even after a bite from an infected tick, is small in the range of < 1% to6% . In studies that have examined the efficacy of antibiotic prophylaxis in persons presenting with a tick bite in Lyme-endemic areas , the rate of infection among those who received placebo ranged from 1.1% to 3.4% . These rates are consistent with a prospective study of patients bitten by ticks in a Lyme-endemic area of New York State, where infection developed in 3.7% of those bitten by a tick .

The risk of infection following a tick bite is related to how long the tick has been attached and is explained by the Borrelia life cycle in the tick. The spirochete first has to migrate from the ticks gut to its salivary glands before it can be injected into the human through the bite. In order to do this, the bacterium must undergo antigenic change to its outer coat that favours human infection . This process takes about 36 hours . If the tick is removed during this time frame, infection is almost always prevented. In an antibiotic prophylaxis trial in the US, no study participants receiving placebo or prophylaxis were infected if the tick fed for less than 72 hours . This is further supported by data from another prospective study in an endemic region, in which participants were at greatest risk of infection if the tick had been attached for more than 72 hours .

What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

Symptoms can start anywhere from 3 to 30 days after the bite. They may look different depending on the stage of your infection. In some cases, you wonât notice any symptoms until months after the bite.

Early symptoms include:

All of those symptoms are also common in the flu. In most Lyme infections, one of the first symptoms youâll notice is a rash.

Without treatment, symptoms can get worse. They might include:

  • Severe headache or neck stiffness
  • Rashes on other areas of your body
  • Arthritis with joint pain and swelling, particularly in your knees
  • âDroopingâ on one or both sides of your face
  • Inflammation in your brain and spinal cord
  • Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in your hands or feet

What does the rash look like?

Some Lyme rashes look like a bull’s-eye with circles around the middle. But most are round, red, and at least 2 inches across.

The rash slowly gets bigger over several days. It can grow to about 12 inches across. It may feel warm to the touch, but itâs usually not itchy or painful. It can show up on any part of your body.

How small are ticks?

Ticks come in three sizes, depending on their life stage. They can be the size of a grain of sand, a poppy seed, or an apple seed.

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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.

Can I Catch Lyme Disease From My Dog

Think the Lyme Disease Rash is Always a Bull’s-eye? Think Again! | Johns Hopkins Rheumatology

Dogs are not a direct source of infection for people. Lyme disease cant be transmitted from one pet to another, nor from pets to humans, except through tick bites. However, a carrier tick could come into your house on your dogs fur and get on you.

If your dog is diagnosed with Lyme disease, you and any other pets have probably been in the same outdoor environment and may also be at risk, so it is a good idea to consult with your physician and veterinarian to see whether you should test other pets or family members.

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What If A Tick Bites My Dog

The more ticks in your region, the likelier it is that your furry pal will bring them home.

Your dog is much more likely to be bitten by a tick than you are. And where Lyme disease is common, up to 25% of dogs have had it at some point.

About 10% of dogs with Lyme disease will get sick. 7-21 days after a tick bite, your dog might seem like theyâre walking on eggshells. They also might have a fever and enlarged lymph nodes. Plus, they might seem tired. Dogs also get antibiotics for Lyme.

What if my dog brings ticks into my home?

Use a tick control product on your pet to prevent Lyme disease. Also, have your dog vaccinated against Lyme.

Check your dogâs whole body each day for bumps. If you notice a swollen area, see if thereâs a tick there. If you find a tick, wear gloves while you use tweezers to separate it from your dog. Then, put it in soapy water or alcohol, or flush it down the toilet.

Use alcohol to clean the spot on your dog where the tick was attached. Keep an eye on that spot, and also on your dog to make sure theyâre behaving normally. If you notice any changes, check with your vet.

Show Sources

John Aucott, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine director, Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center.

CDC.

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report: âVital Signs: Trends in Reported Vectorborne Disease Cases — United States and Territories, 2004-2016.â

American College of Rheumatology.

What Are The Stages Of Lyme Infection

There are three stages:

  • Early localized Lyme: Flu-like symptoms like fever, chills, headache, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, and a rash that looks like a bull’s-eye or is round and red and at least 2 inches long
  • Early disseminated Lyme: Flu-like symptoms like pain, weakness, or numbness in your arms and legs, changes in your vision, heart palpitations and chest pain, a rash , and a type of facial paralysis known as Bellâs palsy
  • Late disseminated Lyme: This can happen weeks, months, or years after the tick bite. Symptoms might include arthritis, severe fatigue and headaches, dizziness, trouble sleeping, and confusion.

About 10% of people treated for Lyme infection donât shake the disease. They may go on to have three core symptoms: joint or muscle pain, fatigue, and short-term memory loss or confusion. This is called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. It can be hard to diagnose because it has the same symptoms as other diseases. Plus, there isn’t a blood test to confirm it.

Experts arenât sure why Lyme symptoms donât always go away. One theory is that your body keeps fighting the infection even after the bacteria are gone, like an autoimmune disorder.

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Signs And Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

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Overview

Lyme disease is an underreported, under-researched, and often debilitating disease transmitted by spirochete bacteria. The spiral-shaped bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, are transmitted by blacklegged deer ticks. Lymes wide range of symptoms mimic those of many other ailments, making it difficult to diagnose .

The blacklegged ticks can also transmit other disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasites. These are known as coinfections . These ticks that transmit Lyme are increasing their geographical spread. As of 2016, they were found in about half the counties in 43 of 50 states in the United States .

Lyme is the fifth most reported of notifiable diseases in the United States, with an estimated 329,000 new cases found annually . Some studies estimate that there are as many as 1 million cases of Lyme in the United States every year .

Most people with Lyme who are treated right away with three weeks of antibiotics have a good prognosis.

But if youre not treated for weeks, months, or even years after infection, Lyme becomes more difficult to treat. Within days of the bite, the bacteria can move to your central nervous system, muscles and joints, eyes, and heart .

Here is a list of 13 common signs and symptoms of Lyme disease.

Chronic Lyme Disease Symptoms

Lyme Disease Symptoms and Treatment by Dr. David Evdokimow ...

There is currently only one symptom in the medical literature which is defined as being specific to chronic or long-standing Lyme disease infection, Acrodermatitis Chronica Atrophicans.

Acrodermatitis Chronica Atrophicans , is unique to Lyme disease and can occur in people who have been infected with Lyme disease for many years. It occurs particularly on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet it begins with painful inflammation of the skin which lasts months or years, often with bluish red discolouration, and ultimately leads to thinning of the skin like tissue paper .

This symptom can be mistaken for peripheral vascular disorders.

Also Check: How To Treat Chronic Lyme Disease

What Should I Do If I Am Bitten By A Tick

If you experience a tick bite, the best way to remove it is by taking the following steps:

  • Tug gently but firmly with blunt tweezers near the “head” of the tick at the level of your skin until it releases its hold on the skin.
  • Avoid crushing the tick’s body or handling the tick with bare fingers as you could exposure yourself to the bacteria in the tick.
  • Wash the bite area thoroughly with soap and water.
  • DO NOT use kerosene, petroleum jelly , or hot cigarette butts to remove the tick.
  • DO NOT squeeze the tick’s body with your fingers or tweezers.

Can Individuals Be Re

Relapses are recurrent symptoms that are the result of failure to cure the original infection, whereas re-infection is the recurrence of symptoms as a result of a new exposure to an infected tick, leading to a new infection. Although erythema migrans lesions can relapse if not treated with antibiotics , their recurrence after successful treatment is more likely to be re-infection than relapse .

Re-infection can occur in as many as 2%21% of patients living in endemic areas who have had Lyme disease . On examination, re-infection typically presents with an erythema migrans lesion at a different site than the original lesion more than 12.5 years after the original infection and not within 11 months of the first infection . In one series, 79% of patients with re-infection presented with erythema migrans at a different site than the previous infection, and 21% presented with a febrile illness with myalgias. Re-infection after late Lyme disease characterized by arthritis or neuroborreliosis is very rare .

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The Misdiagnosis Of Chronic Lyme Disease

Many patients referred for Lyme disease are ultimately found to have a rheumatologic or neurologic diagnosis. Rheumatologic diagnoses commonly misdiagnosed as Lyme disease include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, degenerative diseases of the spine, and spondyloarthropathies.,, Some patients are found to have neurologic diseases, including multiple sclerosis, demyelinating diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, neuropathies, and dementia. Some CLD advocates have argued that these various conditions are simply manifestations of Lyme disease,, but these hypotheses are untenable. Lyme disease is transmitted quite focally, and there is no epidemiologic evidence that these alternative diagnoses cluster in regions with high Lyme disease transmission. There has been no association between diagnoses such as multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or rheumatoid arthritis and antecedent Lyme disease, these diagnoses do not arise concurrently with other recognized manifestations of disseminated Lyme disease , and there is no quality evidence associating any of these diagnoses with seroconversion to B burgdorferi. Although there can certainly be clinical overlap between Lyme disease and other conditions, objective findings and studies will generally allow them to be differentiated.

Regression And Other Symptoms In Children

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Children are the largest population of Lyme patients.

The CDC study of reported Lyme cases from 19922006 found that the incidence of new cases was highest among 5- to 14-year-olds . About one quarter of reported Lyme cases in the United States involve children under 14 years old .

Children can have all the signs and symptoms of Lyme that adults have, but they may have trouble telling you exactly what they feel or where it hurts.

You may notice a decline in school performance, or your childs mood swings may become problematic.

Your childs social and speech skills or motor coordination may regress. Or your child may lose their appetite.

Children are more likely than adults to have arthritis as an initial symptom 01267-2/fulltext#sec0040″ rel=”nofollow”> 25).

In a 2012 Nova Scotian study of children with Lyme, 65 percent developed Lyme arthritis . The knee was the most commonly affected joint.

Summary:

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