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Lyme Disease May Awareness Month

Updated on May 7, 2016

Prevention

Lyme Disease Association
Lyme Disease Association

Cause Of Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by Blacklegged ticks that bite either a person or animal, however; the ticks can cause other tick-borne diseases. Lyme disease, are caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. Scientists have discovered that the pathogen that causes Lyme disease doesn't require iron like all the other known organism. The body's defense can't fight against Borrelia since it doesn't attack the iron, but substitute manganese to make an essential enzyme, then bypassing the immune system which would starve the pathogens of iron.

How Dangerous Is Lyme Disease

Statistics About Lyme Disease

According to the Center For Disease Control And Prevention, the statistics show that fourteen states during 2014 that 96% of cases were reported from Connecticut (1719), Delaware (341), Maine (1169), Maryland (957), Massachusetts (3646), Minnesota (896), New Hampshire (622), New Jersey (2589), New York (2853), Pennsylvania (6470), Rhode Island (570), Vermont (442), Virginia (976), and Wisconsin (991). In the United States, Lyme disease was the most reported vector borne illness and the fifth Nationally Notifiable disease during 2014. All the data on the fourteen states were found on the statistic table compiled by the CDC.

The statistics for 2005 through 2014 in the United Stated show for the confirmed cases per 100,000 population has shown that it has gone up and down. In 2005, there was a total of confirmed cases reported of 23,305, but in 2006, the number of confirmed cases went down to 19,931, but in 2007, the confirmed cases shot up to 27,444 and even higher in 2008 of confirmed cases to 28,921, but in 2009, it even went higher to 29,959 confirmed cases, but in 2010 it dramatically dropped down to 22,561 confirmed cases, then in 2011 it began to rise to 24,364 confirmed cases, yet in 2012 it went down slightly to 22,014 of confirmed, then in 2013 it went way high again to 27,203 confirmed cases and started to drop again in 2014 to 25,359 confirmed cases. Hawaii did not have any reported cases of Lyme disease during the years 2005 to 2014. Arkansas reported one confirmed case during 2005 to 2014 while Colorado had three confirmed cases.

Photographer: Lennard Stoellger
Photographer: Lennard Stoellger

How To Prevent Tick Bites

Ways to help prevent getting tick bites which they are most active during April-September the warmer months but you should be careful year round. When taking a walk through wooded areas to try and stay in the middle of the path plus avoid bushy areas with high grass. DEET (contains 20 to 30% DEET) (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide) or Permethrin will help to repel ticks but you need to spray clothing/tents (products containing 0.5% permethrin) plus the skin that is exposed but avoid the eyes, mouth and hands. Parents should apply this to children. Use a product that will last a few hours It is possible that pretreated clothes that are available might last a little longer and it will last through a couple of washings. Once you get inside you will need to wash within two hours to locate any ticks that may be crawling on your body and use a mirror to check also. Areas that need to be checked are under arms, behind knees, hair, inside your belly button, in and around the ears, between the legs, and around the waist as these are areas that can become tick infested. Clothing should be dried in the dryer on high heat (about one hour) to kill any ticks that may be on them, inspect your pet for ticks that can be carried into the home then later attach to a human host. Any back packs or day packs need to be inspected also.

Source: stock.tookapic
Source: stock.tookapic

Removing The Tick

When removing a tick don't panic since it can be removed by using tweezers with a fine tip or there are products on the market you can purchase to remove ticks. You want to grab the tick using tweezers as close as possible to the skin and pull upward steady as possible straight, but if the head breaks off try removing the head with tweezers, if you can't remove the head then clean the area and let the skin heal. Use an iodine scrub, soap and water or rubbing alcohol to clean the area. Now you need to get rid of the live tick by flushing it down the toilet, wrap with tape very tight, submersing it in alcohol, and placing the tick in a sealed container/sealed bag. Do not crush the tick with your hands as it not a safe way to kill the tick. Some remedies such as using heat to remove a tick, nail polish or petroleum jelly won't remove the tick fast and you want to remove the tick as quick as possible.

Sympton-Chart-Blue-Grey-Brown-2-19-15

(Aucott 2013) Juhnson 2014. Moderate to very servere symptoms) Estimates ofRash rate range from 25 - 80%
(Aucott 2013) Juhnson 2014. Moderate to very servere symptoms) Estimates ofRash rate range from 25 - 80% | Source

Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

Have you been in any areas that ticks would be such as wooded areas, grassy areas or been camping, or hiking? Have you noticed a red rash that has expanded? Some patients (20 - 30 percent) have a false reading when been tested for Lyme disease since it know to inhibit the immune system. Here are the symptoms of Lyme disease:

Early Symptoms:

  • Expanding red rash
  • Flu like symptoms
  • Facial nerves (facial weakness of muscles, paralysis)
  • Shortness of breath or fainting
  • Heart palpitations / chest pains (Lyme carditis)
  • Neck is stiff / severe headaches / lightheadness
  • Pain with swelling in the large joints
  • Possible to interfere with your sleep

Late Symptoms:

  • Tiredness / fatigue / headaches
  • Joint pain / muscle pain / twitching
  • Memory loss / cognitive impairment / sleep impairment
  • Heart related symptoms / stomach and digestive symptoms
  • Nerve pain / numbness / hot and cold sensations / tingling
  • Psychiatric (mood changes, depression)

Lyme Disease

Test To Determine If A Person Has Lyme Disease

Take four to six weeks for the antibody to show in a test, however; it can test negative even when you have Lyme disease. The two tests are used to determine if you might have the disease with the first test and the second test is to determine if you do have the disease. The two tier test misses about half of the cases of people who have the disease.

Western Blot Test uses bands to determine the results so you need to have five of the ten bands. Some bands are more important so if you didn't have five bands you still could be positive for Lyme disease. They use a chart of known cases of Lyme disease to compare your test results, but the different labs can be measured differently according to their guidelines.

The PCR is another test that multiplies the Lyme bacteria, enabling it to be detected. The downside can be a false reading unless the Lyme bacteria are detected, but the bacteria can be few and may not be in the blood sample.

Another test looks for the Lyme protein in blood, urine and joint fluid. Sometimes those who were negative when tested are positive with this test the Antigen detection test.

The culture is where they take a sample of blood or other fluid to try and grow the bacteria Lyme spirochetes. This is a new test and the CDC recommends to use caution.

Lyme symptoms

Treatment Of Lyme Disease

There are two organizations that disagree about Lyme disease and the treatment. The guidelines are eight-years-old, so they do need to be updated to keep pace with the medical advances. The disease is hard to diagnose since the symptoms can be very similar to other diseases. There is no test to determine if the patient has an active infection or if the infection has been removed.

Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) states that:

  1. Lyme disease is hard to get.
  2. Easy to cure.
  3. Can be cured with a short course of antibiotics.
  4. Spirochetal infection can't survive after a short dose of antibiotics.
  5. Denies that Lyme disease can be chronic.

International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) states that:

  • Many patients have recurring symptoms, so they need to work closely with their doctor.
  • Very hard to determine if a person has Lyme disease and hard to treat.
  • Individualized treatment related to how the symptoms are either severe or mild.
  • Patients need to understand what the treatment options are, what the risk and benefits are.
  • Their guidelines have recently been updated.

Adult Deer Tick

Adult Deer Tick
Adult Deer Tick

Children With Lyme Disease

Sometimes a child may not know how to express what they are experiencing so it's hard to know what really is wrong. Below I've listed Dr. Jones list of symptoms to help you to determine if your child could possibly have the Lyme disease.

"Lyme pediatric specialist Charles Ray Jones, MD, compiled a list of common symptoms of infection in his young patients:

  • severe fatigue unrelieved by rest
  • insomnia
  • headaches
  • nausea, abdominal pain
  • impaired concentration
  • poor short-term memory
  • inability to sustain attention
  • difficulty thinking and expressing thoughts
  • difficulty reading and writing
  • being overwhelmed by schoolwork
  • difficulty making decisions
  • confusion
  • uncharacteristic behavior
  • outbursts and mood swings
  • fevers/chills
  • joint pain
  • dizziness
  • noise and light sensitivity"

"Dr. Jones has also documented congenital, or gestational, Lyme disease in some children he thinks were infected in utero or by breastfeeding. In these patients his suspicion is raised when the child has:

  • frequent fevers
  • increased incidence of ear and throat infections
  • increased incidence of pneumonia
  • irritability
  • joint and body pain
  • poor muscle tone
  • gastroesophageal reflux
  • small windpipe (tracheomalacia)
  • cataracts and other eye problems
  • developmental delay
  • learning disabilities
  • psychiatric manifestations"

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Pets Safety

Dogs can easily become infected with ticks that can be passed to their owner as you hold them or pet them. Cat, can pass the disease to people by infect humans with Bartonella through scratching or biting and about 80 percent of stray cats are infected with Lyme disease. Even riding your horse can expose a person to ticks.

Your pets need to be checked on a regular basis for ticks since they are in areas where ticks are at, since they lay on the ground, run through tall grass among other activities. Might want to consider using a flea and tick collar or checking with your local veterinarian to decide the best course of action. Your pet may show signs of sore joints, tired easily, or limping. It has been determined that more dogs who have Lyme disease the risk is higher to humans according to the CDC.

Kittens, Dog And Cat

Playful kittens
Playful kittens
Bernese Mountain Dog and Canine Tabby
Bernese Mountain Dog and Canine Tabby

Introduction To Lyme Disease - Dr. Risk, Lyme Specialist

Lyme Disease

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Tick-Borne Diseases of Humans 1st Edition

Tick borne Diseases of the United States

In the United States, some ticks carry pathogens that can cause human disease, including:

  • Anaplasmosis is transmitted to humans by tick bites primarily from the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) in the northeastern and upper midwestern U.S. and the western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus) along the Pacific coast.
  • Babesiosis is caused by microscopic parasites that infect red blood cells. Most human cases of babesiosis in the U.S. are caused by Babesia microti.Babesia microti is transmitted by the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) and is found primarily in the northeast and upper midwest.
  • Borrelia mayonii infection has recently been described as a cause of illness in the upper midwestern United States. It has been found in blacklegged ticks (Ixodes scapularis) in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Borrelia mayonii is a new species and is the only species besides B. burgdorferi known to causeLyme disease in North America.
  • Borrelia miyamotoi infection has recently been described as a cause of illness in the U.S. It is transmitted by the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) and has a range similar to that of Lyme disease.
  • Colorado tick fever is caused by a virus transmitted by the Rocky Mountain wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni). It occurs in the the Rocky Mountain states at elevations of 4,000 to 10,500 feet.
  • Ehrlichiosis is transmitted to humans by the lone star tick (Ambylomma americanum), found primarily in the southcentral and eastern U.S.
  • Heartland virus infection has been identified in eight patients in Missouri and Tennessee as of March 2014. Studies suggest that Lone Star ticks may transmit the virus. It is unknown if the virus may be found in other areas of the U.S.
  • Lyme disease is transmitted by the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) in the northeastern U.S. and upper midwestern U.S. and the western blacklegged tick (Ixodes pacificus) along the Pacific coast.
  • Powassan disease is transmitted by the blacklegged tick (Ixodes scapularis) and the groundhog tick (Ixodes cookei). Cases have been reported primarily from northeastern states and the Great Lakes region.
  • Rickettsia parkeri rickettsiosis is transmitted to humans by the Gulf Coast tick (Amblyomma maculatum).
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is transmitted by the American dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), Rocky Mountain wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni), and the brown dog tick (Rhipicephalus sangunineus) in the U.S. The brown dog tick and other tick species are associated with RMSF in Central and South America.
  • STARI (Southern tick-associated rash illness) is transmitted via bites from the lone star tick (Ambylomma americanum), found in the southeastern and eastern U.S.
  • Tickborne relapsing fever (TBRF) is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected soft ticks. TBRF has been reported in 15 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming and is associated with sleeping in rustic cabins and vacation homes.
  • Tularemia is transmitted to humans by the dog tick (Dermacentor variabilis), the wood tick (Dermacentor andersoni), and the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum). Tularemia occurs throughout the U.S.
  • 364D rickettsiosis (Rickettsia phillipi, proposed) is transmitted to humans by the Pacific Coast tick (Dermacentor occidentalis ticks). This is a new disease that has been found in California.
All the above information came directly from the Center For Disease Control And Prevention.

Everything You Need to Know About Lyme Disease and Other Tick-Borne Disorders, 2nd Edition

Ticks and Tick Borne Diseases (Aciar Proceedings, 17)

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