ABOUT Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is an infectious bacterial disease caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. It is most often transmitted to humans through infected ticks. The signs and symptoms of Lyme disease vary greatly but commonly include fever, headache, fatigue, muscle pain, heart palpitations, and a characteristic skin rash around the tick bite area. If not treated effectively with antibiotics it can result in heart complications, neurological disorders, or arthritis-like symptoms.
Lyme disease was first reported in 1981 when three children were diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis following a history of exposure to ticks in their Connecticut homes. All three children lived in the town of Lyme, but the medical community was slow to recognize this cluster of cases as a new disease. As reported on June 5, 1993, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), there were early discussions about whether this problem was caused by an infectious organism, and if so, what organism could be causing it.
The disease is named after Lyme, Connecticut, where a high incidence of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis was identified among children in 1975–76. The medical community was slow to recognize this cluster of cases as a new disease. Expert medical opinions were divided regarding whether this problem was caused by an infectious microorganism and if so what organism could be causing it.
Signs and Symptoms of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the spirochete "Borrelia burgdorferi". Depending on the severity of symptoms, patients can be treated with an oral antibiotic called doxycycline. Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease may include:
Because signs and symptoms of Lyme disease may be so variable, it is very difficult to predict who will get Lyme disease and who will not. Some of the symptoms are:
- Rash: You will see this in less than 3 days after being infected. This is will result in the formation of this symptom. It will slowly expand to 30 meters spanning half the area. It won't be itchy but expect a warm feeling when you touch it. This then could be seen in different parts of your body.
- Severe pain in the joint: times after the infection, you will experience pain in your knees. It may even shift from one to another.
- Numb limbs: this is more related to the previous one. This is experienced at the later stage or appears as a sign.
- Others: other could be fatigue, hepatitis, fever, and more.
Treatment of the Lyme Disease
To help control the spread of Lyme disease, the Connecticut state legislature established the Tick-Borne Disease Advisory Committee (TBDAC) in 1986. The committee's work resulted in Connecticut's first Tick-Borne Disease Control Program, created by Public Act 86-442, which specified that Yale University would conduct a five-year study of tick populations and ecology.
This public health project was designed to aid physicians in understanding tick disease transmission, detect emerging tick-borne diseases, and aid in public education about ticks. This program also funded two grants for educational material for school children on tick prevention.
Long-term treatment with antibiotics for Lyme disease is recommended for all cases. This is because the "Borrelia burgdorferi" bacterium, which causes Lyme disease, can linger in the body for years after infection. It can take months before a patient develops signs and symptoms of the disease, even with early treatment.
There are several "in-office" tests available to help doctors definitively diagnose Lyme disease. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test which detects antibodies to the bacteria to confirm treatment is more accurate than standard clinical diagnosis but is not widely available. A Western blot test that detects anti-Borrelia antibodies in serum samples has also been found to help assess treatment efficacy.
Is Lyme Disease Life-threatening?
The chance of Lyme being life-threatening is low or rare. But if you delay any sort of treatment, know that it will evolve into severe stages.
How long can someone live without knowing?
This is one sneaky disease as its symptoms can be seen after 6 months and could extend to 3 years. All you have to do is carry with your regular checkup.