Lyme disease is a disease caused by the bacterial infection that is spread to human by the tick bites. Not every tick causes Lyme disease but the ticks with the bacteria called borrelia burdorferi causes the Lyme disease. It is generally found in Deer Ticks, which feed on blood of animals and humans. Usually, the tick has to get attached to skin for 36-48 hours for the bacteria to actually get spread. The disease has been found most active in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in North America and Europe. It has been estimated that nearly 300,000 people in United States and 65,000 in Europe are mostly affected with this disease.
Transmission of Lyme disease:
The disease in transmitted through the bite of deer ticks. Animals like raccoons, skunks, foxes, weasels, moles, squirrels, chipmunks, deer and horses are the host to ticks. The ticks cannot fly or jump but can climb, run and pass on to humans through grass or foliage or being in contact with its hosts.
Symptoms of Lyme disease
There are three stages of Lyme diseases. The early symptom is the most easily recognized one. It is the skin rashes. It is the typical rash called erythema migrans, which is a single red circular mark and looks like the bull’s eye as there is one big red mark just in the centre of the circle. The rash is not painful or itchy and fades in 3-4 weeks. The rash may be accompanied by the flu like symptoms like fever, tiredness, joint aches, etc. The secondary stage is developed after some weeks or months of the bite if the bite is not treated. Symptoms include mild joint pains to severe joint inflammation (arthritis), the nerve and brain problems, heart problems, meningismus and cranioneuropathy. The third stage of symptoms may be seen after months to years of the bite. It may be developed after a year of not having any symptoms. It triggers the symptoms similar to that of fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome. The diagnosis of the second and the third stage is quite difficult as compared to the early stage. However, blood tests are very helpful in most of the cases and in rare cases, fluid from the joints or skin is taken as a sample for tests.
Treatment of Lyme disease
There are antibiotics available for the Lyme disease. Depending upon where the Lyme disease has infected and to what age group, medical practitioners are providing the medications. The oral medications Vibramycin, amoxicillin or cephalosporin and injections like benzylpenicilin,cefotaxime and ceftiaxone are usually been the choices against Lyme disease. It is thus suggested to visit the doctors as soon as you are suspected with the Lyme disease or as soon as you have the symptoms of Lyme disease. There was vaccine called LYMErix against Lyme disease in the past but it is not given at present as scientists and researchers are working hard to find new one for immunization against the bacteria.
Prevention of Lyme disease
As always, prevention is better than cure, Lyme disease can also be prevented.
• Avoid going to the bushy places until necessary.
• Wear full sleeved shirts and full trousers tucked in boots while going to the areas where Lyme disease is prone.
• Use of insect repellant.
• Checking oneself and the accompany for ticks after the visit to the prone places or being in contact with the animals that can be host to the ticks.
• Remove the ticks if found, with the help of tweezers or cotton thread. Make sure you do not squeeze the tick.