Lyme disease is a multisystem condition of a sub-acute and chronic progress, caused by bacteria known as Borrelia burgdorferi. It affects skin most commonly, but it can also cause issues with heart, joints and central nervous system. This disease has been discovered in 1975 in Lyme, Connecticut, which is where it got its name. The discovery was due to an epidemic appearance of arthritis and in 1981 the bacterium has been extracted from a tick.
Reservoirs of this bacterium are ticks, deer bugs and some other insects. Vectors of the infection are hard ticks which are transmitting the disease onto people and domestic animals, being mostly seasonable (from early spring to late in the autumn). People who spend a lot of their time in the outdoors are at highest risk of acquiring this disease.
Lyme disease manifests with a painful swell and redness on the bite spot about 3-32 days after the incident. Local redness is warm and it usually isn’t painful. With about 50% of patients identical changes may be noticed on other parts of the body, and about 15% of patients may miss all of the skin changes mentioned. Some other symptoms include fever, fatigue, headaches, local enlargement of lymph nodes etc. In case where the disease is recognized and not treated properly, after a couple of weeks the second stage will develop, carrying neurological symptoms as well as joint pains and cardiovascular disease symptoms. In case you don’t treat the second stage of the condition, the disease will go into the third phase which carries significant neurological outbursts and changes on the joints and skin.
Another common symptom is lyme disease rash and treatment needs to cover all of the above mentioned symptoms and issues. Diagnosis is done based on the clinical report and data about the tick bite. It is confirmed with a test of indirect immunofluorescence and application of ELISA techniques which are used to discover lgM antibodies in the serum, liquor and joint fluids. After about three months lgG antibodies appear which are known to be long term. Isolation of the cause is a bad practice and it doesn’t serve any valid purpose. As a confirmation test one may use Western blot technique.
Therapy of this disease depends on its clinical stage. Usually, one would use penicillin and tetracycline, whereas the antibiotic therapy is recommended in the third phase, as well as corticosteroids. All in all, this disease can be easily treated successfully, but it’s still important to focus on prevention methods. Regular guidelines of safe behavior while being outdoors should be more than enough to keep you away from this disease.
In case you notice any kind of symptoms that may direct to this condition specifically, you may want to start an early treatment which should be efficient enough to make sure that it doesn’t fully develop, causing significant health related issues. Always be careful while being outdoors and try to generally act and behave in a safe manner; also, check your body and clothes for any tick bites.