Lyme disease is an infectious form of disease brought about by the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu latu. This is transmitted via a bite from black-legged or deer tick carrying the microorganism.
The tick must be present on the skin for 24-48 hours to transmit the infection. In most cases of Lyme disease, the individual could not recall being bit by a tick.
Those who live or spend time in woody areas face a higher risk for the disease. Even domesticated animals that were left out in wooded areas might acquire Lyme disease.
What are the indications?
Lyme disease has 3 phases which symptoms that are based on the stage.
Early localized disease
The symptoms arise 1-2 weeks after a tick bite. A “bull’s eye” rash is the initial sign which indicates that the bacteria is multiplying in the bloodstream. The rash forms at the area of the tick bite as a focal reddened spot bordered by a clear spot with a reddened edge. It is usually warm to the touch but disappears after 4 weeks.
This occurs several weeks after being bitten. At this phase, the bacteria start to spread throughout the body. This phase is defined by flu-like symptoms. The individual has a generalized feeling of being sick.
A rash might form in areas aside from the bite site and accompanied by neurological signs such as tingling, numbness and Bell’s palsy.
This occurs if the infection was not treated in the early phases. This phase can occur weeks, months or even years after being bitten. This phase is defined by:
- Arthritis in one or several large joints
- Intense headache
- Heart rhythm irregularities
- Difficulty with concentration
- Brain disorders
- Brief memory loss
- Mental fogginess
- Numbness in the legs, arms, feet or hands
Management of Lyme disease
Lyme disease is ideally managed in the initial phases. Prompt treatment is a 14-21-day course of oral antibiotics to get rid of the infection.
Some of the medications used include:
- Doxycycline for children older than 8 years old and adults
- Cefuroxime and amoxicillin for younger children, adults and breastfeeding or nursing women
For chronic or persistent cases, the treatment involves intravenous antibiotics for 14-21 days. Although this approach get rids of the infection, the symptoms will steadily improve.