Not All Ticks Are The Same
Different species of ticks carry different types of bacteria, viruses and protozoa. However, new tick-borne infections are emerging as tick habitats change over time. For example, the deer tick is now reported in 50% of US counties by the CDC. The Lone Star tick is also on the move and expanding into the Northeastern states.TICKNOLOGY has one comprehensive tick testing panel for all ticks that threaten US residents.
Symptoms Of Lyme Disease: Why The Disease Is So Hard To Diagnose
It took seven years and 11 doctors before Wendy Thomass son got the diagnosis that explained all of his disparate symptoms. During those seven years, Griffin suffered rashes, breathing problems, swollen fingers, back pain, knee pain and ankle pain. But because an early test for Lyme disease came back negative, the New Hampshire mother didn’t consider it might be the tick-borne illness.
Finally, a friend suggested Griffin, now 24, might have Lyme despite the early negative test. Then Thomas looked up typical signs of the disease online. Every one of Griffins symptoms was on the list.
We wasted so many years,” said Thomas, 58. “In hindsight it was so obvious.”
Unfortunately, Griffin isnt alone. Many people do develop one or more of the hallmark signs of Lyme after being infected by a tick, including:
- a bulls eye rash
- arthritis in the joints
- drooping of one side of the face
But many others display a host of more ambiguous symptoms that a specialist would spot, but could be missed by the average doctor.
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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How Can Lyme Disease Be Prevented
In areas where ticks are found, people should know about the risk of Lyme disease and should take precautions to protect themselves. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease so it can be detected and treated promptly. PHAC states that removing ticks within 24 to 36 hours after the tick bite usually prevents infection.
PHAC has also prepared a Lyme disease tool kit which provides material to raise awareness and educate.
Where Lyme Disease Came From And Why It Eludes Treatment
A new book called Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons by Kris Newby adds significantly to our understanding of Lyme disease, while oddly seeming to avoid mention of what we already knew.
Newby claims that if a scientist named Willy Burgdorfer had not made a confession in 2013, the secret that Lyme disease came from a biological weapons program would have died with him. Yet, in 2004 Michael Christopher Carroll published a book called Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Governments Secret Germ Laboratory. He appeared on several television shows to discuss the book, including on NBCs Today Show, where the book was made a Today Show Book Club selection. Lab 257 hit the New York Times nonfiction bestseller list soon after its publication.
Newbys book reaches the same conclusion as Carrolls, namely that the most likely source of diseased ticks is Plum Island. Newby reaches this conclusion on page 224 after mentioning Plum Island only once in passing in a list of facilities on page 47 and otherwise avoiding it throughout the book. This is bizarre, because Newbys book otherwise goes into great depth, and even chronicles extensive research efforts that lead largely to dead ends, and because there is information available about Plum Island, and because Carrolls best-selling book seems to demand comment, supportive or dismissive or otherwise.
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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.
Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
People with Lyme disease may react to it differently. Symptoms can vary in severity.
Although Lyme disease is commonly divided into three stages early localized, early disseminated, and late disseminated symptoms can overlap. Some people will also present in a later stage of disease without having symptoms of earlier disease.
These are some of the more common symptoms of Lyme disease:
- a flat, circular rash that looks like a red oval or bulls-eye anywhere on your body
These symptoms may occur soon after the infection, or months or years later.
You may also notice some psychological symptoms in your child. According to a , some parents reported the following psychological issues in their child with Lyme disease:
- anger or aggression
If your child seems to be acting differently and cant explain why or what theyre feeling, its important to talk with their doctor, as these changes could be a sign of many conditions, including Lyme disease.
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Prognosis Of Lyme Disease
People treated with antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually make a full recovery. Without treatment there can be complications that involve the joints, heart and nervous system, but these symptoms can still go away with treatment.
Although it is rare, some people develop whats called post-Lyme disease syndrome. Those individuals still have symptoms of Lyme Disease that interfere with their life even after theyve been treated, according to MedlinePlus.
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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No One Knows Why Lyme Disease Makes You Sick
Compared to malaria, which is caused by single-cell organisms that can be seen teeming in each drop of blood under the microscope, Borrelia infects the human body in relatively low concentrations. In about three-quarters of all cases it causes a circular, itchy rash called Erythema migrans around the site of the original tick bite. Beyond that, its not clear exactly why the bacteria makes us sick. In many people, the infection doesnt cause any symptoms. For the unlucky, the disease hits hard, with a suite of symptoms that includes fever, muscle aches, joint pain, nausea, and a general sense of feeling absolutely miserable. If left untreated, Lyme can lead to arthritis, neurological disorders like partial facial paralysis, or cardiac disease.
For me, the worst part was shooting headaches so intense theyd wake me up in the middle of the night. The constant pain made me so uncomfortable that my personality was changing: I became impatient, sullen, short-tempered. When my doctors office called to say that my test results had come back positive, I was elated: I knew that within a day or two of starting a course of antibiotics, Id gotten a reprieve from a misery that otherwise could have dragged on until God knows when.
How Do I Know If I Have A Tick Bite
Many people who develop the disease do not remember seeing ticks or being bitten. Tick bites commonly occur from May to September in North America, although blacklegged ticks can be active most of the year. Ticks sometimes move around on the body but they usually attach themselves to the skin and stay in one place. Before feeding, ticks look like small, brown scabs or freckles. After feeding, ticks may swell considerably, and could be as big as a raisin or a small grape.
Follow the link for more information about blacklegged ticks from the Government of Canada.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
The list of possible symptoms is long, and symptoms can affect every part of the body. The following are the most common symptoms of Lyme disease. But symptoms are slightly different for each person.
The primary symptom is a red rash that:
Can appear several days after infection, or not at all
Can last up to several weeks
Can be very small or grow very large , and may resemble a “bulls-eye”
Can mimic such skin problems as hives, eczema, sunburn, poison ivy, and flea bites
Can itch or feel hot, or may not be felt at all
Can disappear and return several weeks later
Several days or weeks after a bite from an infected tick, you may have flu-like symptoms such as the following:
Weeks to months after the bite, the following symptoms may develop:
Neurological symptoms, including inflammation of the nervous system and weakness and paralysis of the facial muscles
Heart problems, including inflammation of the heart and problems with heart rate
Eye problems, including inflammation
Months to a few years after a bite, the following symptoms may include:
Inflammation of the joints
Neurological symptoms including numbness in the extremities, tingling and pain, and difficulties with speech, memory, and concentration
Evaluating Products Used By The Public
A tick tries to avoid contact with permethrin-treated fabric in the laboratory. This behavior is called hot-footing.
CDC and university partners have evaluated the effectiveness of permethrin-treated clothing as a way to prevent tick bites. Results from a pilot studyexternal icon and a follow-up show that treated fabric is highly irritating to ticks, causing them to drop off and stunting the activity for more than 24 hours afterwards.
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What’s The Best Way To Prevent A Tick Bite
Ticks can’t fly or jump. But they live in shrubs and bushes and can grab onto you when you pass by. To avoid getting bitten:
- Wear pants and socks in areas with lots of trees and when you touch fallen leaves.
- Wear a tick repellent on your skin and clothing that has DEET, lemon oil, or eucalyptus.
- For even more protection, use the chemical permethrin on clothing and camping gear.
- Shower within 2 hours after coming inside. Look for ticks on your skin, and wash ticks out of your hair.
- Put your clothing and any exposed gear into a hot dryer to kill whatever pests might be on them.
How do you know if you’ve been bitten?
Since ticks are so small, you’ve got to have pretty good eyes to see them.
If you have a small, red bump on your skin that looks like a mosquito bite, it could be a tick bite. If it goes away in a few days, itâs not a problem. Remember, a tick bite doesnât necessarily mean you have Lyme disease.
If you notice a rash in the shape of a bull’s-eye, you might have a tick bite. Talk to your doctor about treatment.
If you have an allergic reaction to ticks, you’ll notice a bite right away.
Health Effects Of Lyme
Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi that the tick contracts from hosts like deer or rodents. Its then passed on to humans after a walk in tall grass or a hike in the wilderness.
The bacteria is called a spirochete because of its spiral shape, and that gives it a great amount of motility so its able to move around in your system and throughout your tissue quite readily, said Jim Wilson, the founder of the Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation .
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The good news is that if a tick bite is caught early, within the first few hours or weeks, a course of antibiotics can pretty much eliminate the disease. But if it isnt, that spirochete can wreak havoc on the body.
Once you miss the opportunity to treat it acutely, the bacteria can disseminate from the site of tick bite, said Dr. Kieran Moore, the principal investigator with the Canadian Institute of Health Research-funded Canadian Lyme Disease Research Network.
It can be spread to your joints and cause rheumatological Lyme or it can spread into nerve tissue and cause nerve tissue damage, or it can attach to the muscle of the heart and the nerve conduction system of the heart and cause all types of different cardiac presentations.
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Why This Case Was Significantly Important As An Emerging Infection
Lyme borreliosis is the most common tick-borne disease of pronounced public health importance in countries with moderate climate in the Northern Hemisphere.1 Its increasing incidence1,2 may be a consequence of a range of environmental factors, together with changing human behavior.3 Unfortunately, LB has become a misdiagnosis also for non-specific chronic symptoms such as arthralgias, myalgias, headache, and fatigueâsymptoms frequently present in the general population. The diagnosis of LB is too often based on erroneous interpretations of microbiological test results, whereas patients with typical clinical signs may stay undiagnosed and untreated.
Linda K. Bockenstedt, in, 2017
Some Advice On Treatments
Lyme disease can be treated with a two-week to four-week course of antibiotics.
However, some people will experience symptoms such as fatigue, pain, or cognitive difficulties for more than 6 months after treatment. This is known as Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome.
Evidence for the use of antibiotics for chronic, persistent symptoms following the initial infection is inconclusive and Khan cautions against this approach to treating long-term issues.
While many non-specific chronic symptoms are attributed to Lyme disease due to likely false-positive serologic testing, there is no evidence that long-term treatment with antibiotics has any impact on these chronic symptoms, so be wary of any doctor offering cash-only long-term antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease, Kahn said.
I see many patients that have paid unscrupulous doctors in cash for these dubious Lyme disease treatments, and in most cases, their symptoms are due to something other than Lyme disease, he warned.
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Racial Differences In Incidence
Lyme disease is reported primarily in whites, although it occurs in individuals of all races. No genetic explanation is known for this the disparity most likely stems from social or environmental factors and possibly to the fact that erythema migrans is more difficult to diagnose in dark-skinned individuals.
Related Conditions And Causes Of Lyme Disease
Although Lyme disease is by far the most common tickborne disease in the United States, there are others.
Anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis are caused by tick bites and can affect people of any age. Symptoms can include fever, muscle aches, weakness, and headache. Tetracycline antibiotics usually cure the diseases quickly, notes the New York State Department of Health.
Spotted fever rickettsioses are a group of diseases spread by infected ticks and mites. The illnesses these infections can cause can range from mild to life-threatening, and symptoms include fever, headache and rash. The antibiotic doxycycline is usually used to treat spotted fever infections, notes the CDC.
Babesiosis is a rare disease caused by the bite of a tick infected with Babesia microti, a tiny parasite that infects red blood cells. Many people who get this infection dont have any symptoms, while others have flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, and body aches. A blood test can be done to confirm the infection. If babesiosis requires treatment , antibiotics are used. Its possible to be infected with Lyme disease and babesiosis at the same time, notes the New York State Department of Health.
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What Do You Do If Theres 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 wonÃ¢t 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.