Monday, April 15, 2024

Tick Bites And Lyme Disease

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What Is Lyme Disease

5 Tips to Prevent Tick Bites and Getting Lyme Disease | Johns Hopkins Medicine

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.

Blood Tests For Antibodies

Blood tests for detecting antibodies to B. burgdorferi are most reliable several weeks after infection has occurred and are rarely of value during the first 7 to 10 days of illness. During these initial days of infection, these tests can give false negative results .

Most authorities, including the CDC, recommend a 2-step testing process for Lyme disease:

  • EIA Test. The first test used is an enzyme immunoassay . The EIA measures IgM and IgG antibodies to the B. burgdorferi spirochete. Positive results from this test still require confirmation with a Western blot test, since the EIA test is often positive even when there has been no infection. Negative results do not require further testing.
  • Western Blot or second EIA test. If the EIA test is positive or uncertain, it is followed by the Western blot test. This test is more accurate and is very helpful in confirming the diagnosis but is more expensive and takes longer to complete. The Western blot creates a visual graph showing bands of IgM or IgG antibodies that laboratories use to interpret the immune response. More recently, recommendations have changed to allow for a second EIA in place of the confirmatory Western blot .
  • V1sE . This newer FDA-approved test detects a specific component within the EIA IgG antibodies and is being increasingly used instead of the Western Blot to confirm a positive EIA test. Since it is less expensive and more rapidly completed, it may ultimately replace the Western Blot test.

Lyme Disease Test And Treatment

If you think you may have Lyme disease, contact your physician right away.

Your doctor may do a test for Lyme disease. The FDA regulates diagnostic tests to ensure that they are safe and effective. Its important to know that blood tests that check for antibodies to the bacterium that causes Lyme disease are not useful if done soon after a tick bite. It typically takes 2 to 5 weeks after a tick bite for initial antibodies to develop.

For this reason, your doctor may recommend treatment with antibiotics before the diagnostic tests are complete. According to the CDC, patients treated with appropriate antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover rapidly and completely.

Read Also: What Does It Feel Like To Have Lyme Disease

Tick Prevention For Children

The following are ways to prevent tick exposure and Lyme disease:

  • Regular tick checks are needed, especially when children are outdoors. Check behind the knees, between fingers and toes, underarms, naval, in and behind the ears, neck and hairline at the base of the neck and on top of the head. Running fingers gently over the skin is a good way to locate ticks.

  • Wear protective clothes. Dress in long-sleeved shirts and long pants and closed-toe shoes. Light-colored clothes make it easier to see ticks on clothing.

  • Shower after all outdoor activities. It may take 4-6 hours for ticks to attach firmly to skin, so showering or bathing will help remove unattached ticks. Use tick repellents that are recommended by your family physician and treat your child precisely as instructed on the product label.

  • Ticks like low-level shrubs and grasses, particularly at the edges of wooded areas. Educate your children to stay out of such areas.

How Is Lyme Disease Treated

ActivMed Clinical Trials MA NH: Beware the Tick Bite: Prevention and ...

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

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What Health Professionals Need To Know About Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a serious illness caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. The bacterium is a spirochete transmitted by certain species of Ixodes ticks. It is spread through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks and western blacklegged ticks.

Health professionals are encouraged to further their knowledge of Lyme disease in Canada. This includes the ability to:

  • understand and identify the signs and symptoms
  • prescribe appropriate treatment for patients diagnosed with the disease
  • report human cases through appropriate channels

Symptoms sometimes appear in overlapping stages, as:

  • early localized Lyme disease
  • early disseminated Lyme disease
  • late disseminated Lyme disease

It is important to note that some people with Lyme disease may have no or minimal symptoms. Others may suffer more severe symptoms.

Some people may not develop symptoms until weeks after the initial bite, as described in the early localized disease stage below. In this case, they may not remember the tick bite or associate the illness with the bite. Because the blacklegged tick is so small and usually painless, some people may not even know they were bitten by a tick.

Health professionals should be knowledgeable about the clinical manifestations and epidemiological risk factors of Lyme disease. Consider Lyme disease as part of your differential diagnosis in a patient who presents with compatible symptoms and signs.

Heres How To Identify A Tick After A Tick Bite:

  • After removing the tick, place it on a white piece of paper or clear tape, then take a picture of the front and back of the tick. DO NOT let it crawl away.
  • Place the tick in a small plastic bag with a green leaf, damp cotton ball or moist piece of tissue. DO NOT place it in alcohol. Label the bag with your name, date, site of bite and how long the tick was attached.
  • Use one of the following links to identify the tick.
  • or you can download the TickTracker app on your smart phone.

Also Check: Google What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

Treating Early Stage Lyme Disease

The early stages of Lyme disease usually include the bull’s-eye rash and flu-like symptoms of chills and fever, fatigue, muscle pain, and headache. In rare cases, people develop an abnormal heartbeat .

All of these conditions are treated with 14 to 28 days antibiotics courses. The exact number of days depends on the drug used and the person’s response to it. Antibiotics for treating Lyme disease generally include:

  • Doxycycline. This antibiotic is effective against both Lyme disease and human granulocytic anaplasmosis . It is the standard antibiotic for anyone over 8 years old, except for pregnant women. It is a form of tetracycline and can discolor teeth and inhibit bone growth in young children. It can also cause birth defects if used during pregnancy.
  • Amoxicillin. This type of penicillin is probably the best antibiotic for pregnant women. Some people are allergic to penicillin and strains of Lyme bacteria are emerging that are resistant to it.
  • Cefuroxime . This cephalosporin antibiotic is an alternative treatment for young children and for adults with penicillin allergy.
  • Intravenous ceftriaxone or cefotaxime. Intravenous infusions of one of these cephalosporin antibiotics may be warranted if there are signs of infection in the central nervous system or heart.

Other types of antibiotics, such as macrolides like azithromycin and clarithromycin, are not recommended for first-line therapy.

Antibiotic Side Effects

Who Is At Risk For Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease Prophylaxis After Tick Bite

Anyone can get a tick bite. But people who spend lots of time outdoors in wooded, grassy areas are at a higher risk. This includes campers, hikers, and people who work in gardens and parks.

Most tick bites happen in the summer months when ticks are most active and people spend more time outdoors. But you can get bitten in the warmer months of early fall, or even late winter if temperatures are unusually high. And if there is a mild winter, ticks may come out earlier than usual.

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Tick Bites: Lyme Disease

Some ticks carry Lyme disease, which can be transferred to humans when they bite. This bacterial infection can be prevented if the tick is removed in time. Lyme disease is usually treated with . If the infection is left untreated, complications can arise. But that is rare.

Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by . It is more common than tick-borne encephalitis , another disease that can be transmitted by ticks. In Germany, about 3 out of 10,000 people develop Lyme disease each year.

Tick Pictures And Lyme Patient Rash Pictures

See Research Here. Co Infections to learn more.Also less then half the people who get infected with Lyme Disease ever develop the Bulls Eye rash. Some develop other atypical rashes and some dont have any rash at all.Dr Jemsecks Explantion of the Erythema Migrans

Note: It is not necessary to have a rash to have Lyme Disease or other Tick Borne Infections. According to International Lyme and Associated Disease Society less then 50% of Lyme patients develop a rash. And for those who do, it may not be the typical bulls eye rash. See ILADS Lyme Quick Facts Here.

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These Horrifying Pictures Show The Exact Tick Bite Symptoms To Look For

Americas most common ticks and how to identify them

Imagine: youve just returned from a long hike through the woods. Youre sweaty, youre thirsty, your muscles ache. Your shoulders are sunburnt, your legs are covered with mosquito bites. All you want to do is plop down on the couch with a cold drink and turn on the television.

But firstyou need to check for ticks.

Ticks are tiny insects, most of them small enough to dance on a dime, but they infect tens of thousands of Americans every year. Ticks in 2017 caused disease in 59,349 people across the countryincluding 42,743 cases of Lyme disease. Thats enough infections to lay low 100 summer camps. And ticks carry other dangerous diseases as well: ehrlichiosis, a potentially fatal disease spread by Lone Star ticks and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which causes dangerous rashes and swelling.

Lone star tick

Scientific name: Amblyomma americanum- Where its found: Widely distributed in the eastern United States, but more common in the South.- Diseases it transmits: Ehrlichia chaffeensis and E. ewingii , Francisella tularensis , Heartland virus , Bourbon virus , and Southern tick-associated rash illness .

This slideshow was first published on

Scientific name: Dermacentor andersoni- Where its found: Rocky Mountain states.- Diseases it transmits: Rickettsia rickettsii , Colorado tick fever virus , and Francisella tularensis .

This slideshow was first published on

American dog tick

How Can I Prevent Tick Bites Altogether

The Four Stages of Lyme Disease

If your yard is on the wild side or youve got plans to go hiking, camping, or walking through the forest or mountains, youre in prime tick territory, per the CDC, and youll find ticks in highly wooded, humid areas like forests and trails. Headed somewhere you know might be tick-heavy? Spray your clothing, shoes, and camping gear with insecticides that contain 0.5 percent permethrin, Thomas Mather, PhD, director of the Center for Vector-Borne Disease at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, tells Womens Health.

You should also try wearing colorful clothing , long-sleeves, and full-length pants, being sure to tuck your hanging sleeves into your gloves and shoes. Reapply your tick repellent throughout your day, and do careful tick checks after youve been outside for a significant amount of time. You can also keep tabs on local tick activity in your area by contacting your states health department .

Also Check: Can Any Tick Carry Lyme Disease

Ticks Spread Across Michigan

“This seems to go hand in hand with findings of the increasing spread of Lyme-infected ticks into west Michigan.”

Michigan recorded fewer than 30 human cases of Lyme disease in any single year between 2000 and 2004. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Servicescounted 864 confirmed and probable human Lyme cases last year, a 92% jump from 2020.

The Lyme disease spike in Michigan correlates with the spread of blacklegged ticks here. In 1998, the ticks were established in only five counties Berrien County in southwestern Lower Peninsula, and four counties in the Upper Peninsula and reported in 22 other counties. By 2016, however, the ticks were established in 24 Michigan counties and reported in 18 others. The ticks have overtaken the entirety of the Lake Michigan shoreline in the Lower Peninsula, from Charlevoix to St. Joseph. But tick populations are not staying confined to coastal counties, becoming established increasingly to the east in the southern part of the state.

“The ticks have been increasing over time, in Michigan and especially western Michigan,” said Jean Tsao, an associate professor in Michigan State University’s departments of fisheries and wildlife and large animal clinical sciences.

“Their distribution has increased across the state of Michigan, and their related pathogens have increased.”

More:Warmer winters, fewer hunters have Michigan deer numbers soaring and it’s becoming a problem

Inspection And Tick Removal

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

Read Also: Chances Of Getting Lyme Disease From A Tick

What You Need To Know About Lyme Disease

  • Lyme disease is an infection caused by the spiral-shaped bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which is most commonly transmitted by a tick bite.

  • There are over 300,000 estimated new cases of Lyme disease in the United States each year.

  • The symptoms of Lyme disease depend on the how long the infection has been present in the body. The first sign of Lyme disease is often an expanding round or oval red “bullseye” rash.

  • If left untreated, people may develop neurological symptoms and heart problems, and have an approximately 60 percent chance of developing Lyme arthritis.

Stage : Late Disseminated Lyme Disease

Tick bites and lyme disease: How to recognize and prevent them | FOX 5 DC

Late disseminated Lyme disease occurs when the infection hasnt been treated in stages 1 and 2. Stage 3 can occur months or years after the tick bite.

This stage is characterized by:

  • arthritis of one or more large joints
  • brain disorders, such as encephalopathy, which can cause short-term memory loss, difficulty concentrating, mental fogginess, problems with following conversations, and sleep disturbance
  • numbness in the arms, legs, hands, or feet
  • park or wildlife management

The majority of tick bites happen in the summer when ticks are the most active and people spend more time outside. However, its also possible to get Lyme disease from tick bites in early fall, and even in late winter if the weather is unseasonably warm.

Lyme disease prevention mostly involves decreasing your risk of experiencing a tick bite.

Take the following steps to prevent tick bites:

Contact a doctor if and whenever a tick bites you or your loved ones.

Also Check: What Happens When You Have Lyme Disease

What Happens At Your Appointment

The GP will ask about your symptoms and consider any rash or recent tick bites you know about.

Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose. It has similar symptoms to other conditions and there’s not always an obvious rash.

2 types of blood test are available to help confirm or rule out Lyme disease. But these tests are not always accurate in the early stages of the disease.

You may need to be retested if you still have Lyme disease symptoms after a negative result.

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.

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