Who’s At Risk Of Lyme Disease
The risk of getting Lyme disease is higher:
- for people who spend time in woodland or moorland areas
- from March to October because more people take part in outdoor activities
It’s thought only a small proportion of ticks carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Being bitten doesn’t mean you’ll definitely be infected. However, it’s important to be aware of the risk and speak to a GP if you start to feel unwell.
What Should You Do If You Find A Tick
Donât 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. Donât squeeze the tick, and donât 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.
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Is Lyme Disease A Pathogenic Disease
Image credit: cdc.gov
LEYGON disease Borrelia are obligately parasitic, tick-transmitted, invasive, persistent bacterial pathogens that cause disease in humans and non-reservoir vertebrates by causing inflammation.
An erythema migrans rash may appear as the first symptom, followed by changes in your joint appearance, cardiac rhythm, and neurologic function. The first cases of Lyme disease were discovered in Connecticut in 1976, and the disease was recognized as a medical emergency at the time. There have been 49 cases reported in 49 states, with 90% of them occurring in the mid-Atlantic and the Northeast. The infection is treated with antibiotics such as doxycycline or ceftriaxone. The three stages of Lyme disease are as follows. Asymptomatic intervals are typically used to separate the early and late stages. This is the most common and effective indicator of Lyme disease.
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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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What Is The Gold Standard For Diagnosing Lyme Disease
Because serologic tests are the gold standard in Direct tests due to their lack of sensitivity for Lyme disease, serologic tests continue to be the gold standard. As of right now, 2-tier testing strategies are recommended: an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay followed by a Western blotting test for confirmation.
Lyme Disease: A Serious Infection With A Tell-tale Rash
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Is Long Covid An Autoimmune Disease
One cause of autoimmune reactions in the human body is through a mechanism called molecular mimicry. Molecular mimicry occurs when a pathogen has a similar protein sequence to human tissue. The consequence is antibodies made to attack a pathogen also attack human tissue .
In January 2021, researchers from southern California published their findings of a study to determine if SARS-CoV-2 virus antibodies could cause an autoimmune reaction. They tested human monoclonal SARS-CoV-2 antibodies against 55 human tissues. What they discovered was remarkable âCOVID-19 antibodies cross-reacted with a total of 28 human tissues!
COVID-19 antibodies cross-react with mitochondria which may be the cause of chronic fatigue in Long COVID
The most common human tissue the antibodies reacted to was the energy-producing powerhouse, the mitochondria. If COVID-19 antibodies are also destroying human mitochondria, it makes sense a common symptom of Long COVID is fatigue. Other tissues that COVID antibodies cross-reacted with were gastrointestinal, thyroid, muscle, and brain. Other studies have reported autoimmune thyroiditis following infection with COVID-19.
Stage : Late Disseminated Lyme Disease
Timing: Months to years after a tick bite
The infection can spread to the joints or contribute to altered brain function, a condition known as encephalopathy.
Common symptoms of late disseminated Lyme disease include:
Arthritis with joint pain, warmth, and swelling that may be constant or come and go. Lyme disease-related arthritis typically occurs in one joint, usually the knee or another large joint, though it can also occur in more than one joint.
Concentration issues, brain fog, and memory issues
Nerve pain that feels like tingling, numbness, burning, or stabbing in the hands and feet
Anxiety, depression, mood swings, and other neuropsychiatric issues
Sleep disturbances such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, need for extended sleep, or unrefreshing sleep.
You may also experience a worsening of earlier Lyme disease symptoms.
In some people, Lyme disease can cause debilitating fatigue and sleep disturbances . Lyme disease-related arthritis typically occurs in a large joint like the knee .
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Molecular Fingerprint Similarities In Covid
A recently released study that is still in pre-print looked at molecular patterns of ME/CFS and compared the results to some chronic infections and autoimmune diseases. Blood and immune cells from the ME/CFS patients and control groups were analyzed with RNA sequencing to develop molecular signatures. The researchers developed mathematical models where they identified 904 Ã¢key driver genesÃ¢ in ME/CFS.
Surprisingly, molecular patterns in ME/CFS were similar to patterns in Lyme disease and COVID-19 and not the autoimmune conditions tested. This suggests a Ã¢common underlying biology that shares immune and metabolic dysregulation.Ã¢
The findings from this complex study may explain why people that develop Long COVID may have a similar clinical path as those with ME/CFS and Lyme disease.
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Health Problems That Mimic Lyme Disease
Lyme disease can be a very serious infectious disease that is caused by the bite of a Lyme-carrying tick . While the problem is caused by such a small source, the symptoms that result can be huge, and sometimes can lead to an incorrect diagnosis.
What can complicate a diagnosis for Lyme is that it often doesnt show up during early blood tests, which can lead medical professionals in different directions. Here are 7 of the most common diseases that Lyme disease is often mistaken for due to similar symptoms
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Is It Coronavirus Or Lyme Disease Similar Symptoms Could Create Confusion
Feeling sick with a fever even a slight one along with chills, fatigue and achy joints during this pandemic era may all seem to point to the coronavirus, particularly in summer with flu season still months away. But there may be another culprit: Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is just as common this year as it was last year or the year before, Dr. Daniel Cameron, a Lyme disease specialist in private practice in Mount Kisco, New York, told TODAY.
Whats more, Lyme disease, which is caused by bacteria or a parasite in a tick, has a reputation for imitating other conditions.
It triggers cytokines, the inflammatory process, and by triggering the whole natural immune system, it will mimic some other infections that affect the immune system, Cameron said. When the immune system is working hard to clear the infection, it may cause symptoms very similar to COVID-19.
There are a number of symptoms that could indicate either COVID-19 or Lyme disease. These symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, include:
What Is The Diagnostic Test For Lyme Disease
It is a reagent test that detects enzymes that bind to antibodies. The most commonly used test to detect Lyme disease is an ELISA test that detects antibodies to B. burgdorferi.
Lyme Disease: The Autoimmune Disease Imitato
Despite the fact that it is not classified as an autoimmune disease, research suggests that Lyme disease may be responsible for triggering an autoimmune response. It is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii, which are transmitted by a blacklegged tick bite. It is estimated that symptoms can last from a few weeks to several months, and that they can range from a mild infection to a more serious illness. Antibiotics are the most effective way to treat Lyme disease, but if left untreated, it can cause long-term health problems. If you believe you have Lyme disease, you should consult with your doctor. You may require a blood test to determine whether you have the infection, but treatment can begin right away.
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Life Cycle Of B Burgdorferi
The primary vector of Lyme disease in the northeastern and north central United States is the deer tick, Ixodes scapularis. The primary vector in the Pacific coastal area of the country is I.pacificus. Ticks go through four stages in their development , and B. burgdorferi is maintained in ticks as they pass from one stage to the next. When an infected tick bites a human or certain animals , the infectious agent can be transmitted, resulting in disease. Wild rodents and deer are part of the natural life cycle of B. burgdorferi. Infected larval and nymphal ticks feed on small mammals while adult ticks feed on deer. The explosive repopulation of white-tailed deer in parts of the United States has been linked to the spread of Lyme disease. The majority of human Lyme disease cases result from bites by infected nymphs. At this stage the tick is small, less easily detected, and less likely to be promptly removed, which increases the possibility that it will transmit disease. Dogs, cattle, and horses develop disease that may include the joint and heart complications seen in humans. A vaccine is available for dogs, which in addition to protecting them, has a beneficial public health impact by decreasing the proximity of this disease to people. There is no evidence that Lyme disease has been transmitted directly from animal-to-animal, animal-to-human, or human-to-human.
Lyme Disease Rashes And Look
Circular, expanding rash with target-like appearance.
Expanding rash with central crust
Expanding lesion with central crust on chest.
Expanding erythema migrans
Photo Credit: Reprinted from Bhate C, Schwartz RA. Lyme disease: Part I. Advances and perspectivesexternal icon. J Am Acad Dermatol 2011 64:619-36, with permission from Elsevier.
Description:Early, expanding erythema migrans with nodule.
Multiple rashes, disseminated infection
Early disseminated Lyme disease multiple lesions with dusky centers.
Red, oval plaque
Red, expanding oval-shaped plaque on trunk.
Expanding rash with central clearing
Circular, expanding rash with central clearing.
Bluish hued rash, no central clearing
Bluish hued without central clearing.
Expanding lesion, no central clearing
Expanding lesion without central clearing on back of knee.
Red-blue lesion with central clearing
Red-blue lesion with some central clearing on back of knee.
Insect bite hyper-sensitivity
Large itchy rash caused by an allergic reaction to an insect bite.
Fixed drug reaction
Description:A skin condition that occurs up to two weeks after a person takes a medication. The skin condition reappears at the same location every time a person takes that particular medication.
Description:Ringworm is a common skin infection that is caused by a fungus. Its called ringworm because it can cause a ring-shaped rash that is usually red and itchy with raised edges.
Pityriasis rosea rash
Granuloma annulare rash
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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.
No Sure Way To Predict
Predicting the number of Lyme disease or other tickborne infections, including how an upcoming season will compare with previous years, is complicated. Ticks that spread germs to people can have up to 2- to 3-year lifecycles, and many factors can affect their numbers, including temperature, rainfall, humidity, and the availability of hosts for the ticks to feed on, such as mice, deer and other animals. In any given year, the number of ticks in an area will be different from region to region, state to state, and even county to county.
Numbers of reported tickborne disease cases are also affected by healthcare provider awareness and by testing and reporting practices.
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How You Get Lyme Disease
Lyme disease can be transmitted by the bite of a tick infected with Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria.
Ticks survive in many habitats but prefer moist areas with leaf litter or longer grass, like in woodland, grassland, moorland, heathland and some urban parks and gardens.
Ticks dont jump or fly but climb on to your clothes or skin if you brush past vegetation.
They then bite into the skin and start to feed on your blood. Being bitten doesnt mean youll definitely be infected as not all ticks carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.
If bitten by an infected tick, you are more likely to become infected the longer the tick remains attached and feeding.
Ticks are very small and their bites are not painful, so you may not realise you have one attached to your skin. It is important to check yourself for ticks after outdoor activities and remove any ticks promptly and safely.
First: What Is Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne diseaseor illness caused by pathogens passed on from one living organism to anotherin the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, and transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged or deer ticks.
Each year, approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported by state health departments and the District of Columbia, per the CDC. However, this is only a fraction of the actual cases. The health organization estimates that up to 300,000 people may get Lyme disease each year in the United States.
It’s important, however, to understand that just coming into contact with a tick doesn’t always lead to a Lyme disease diagnosis. “Generally, a tick has to be in contact with you for 36 hours for it to infect you with Lyme disease,” Purvi Parikh, MD, an immunologist at NYU Langone Health and member of Physicians for Patient Protection, tells Health.
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Where Is It Possible To Get Lyme Disease
It is possible to contract Lyme disease in many areas across the United States, and throughout the world. Ticks carrying Lyme disease are found in tall grass, leaf litter, brushy and wooded areas, especially the woodland edge, in rural areas and in cities.
Even in areas that arent known to be endemic for Lyme disease, remember that people travel, pets travel, and ticks travel, creating opportunities for exposure.
What Does Lyme Disease Look Like On Your Skin
This is the most common early sign of Lyme disease: a bulls eye-like rash on the skin. It begins in a reddened area where ticks bite. As the rash becomes larger, it begins to clear in the middle, eventually forming a red ring around the outside. You can, for example, experience several rashes, as seen in the image below.
Lyme Disease: A Serious Infection
Lyme disease is caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, which is known to cause meningitis and other serious illnesses. It is difficult to diagnose because it can cause a variety of symptoms that are similar to other illnesses. In the United States, there are several reasons why Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne illness, including the fact that it is also the most common in Europe. If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause serious health problems such as arthritis, cardiac problems, and neurological symptoms. If you believe you may have Lyme disease, you must get it treated as soon as possible. There is no cure for Lyme disease, but antibiotics can be used to treat it.
I received my Ph. D. from The Pennsylvania State University. My dissertation research was a study of the effect of experimentally-induced diabetes mellitus on aortic endothelial cell histamine metabolism. After receiving my degree, I took an Instructor position at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, where I team-taught human / mammalian physiology.
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