Lyme disease is a relatively new, being first reported in 1975, in Old Lyme , Connecticut. It is caused by the bacterium Borrelia Burgdoferi, which can be carried by rats and dears. The transmitters of the disease are the black-legged ticks that bite these animals, get infected and afterwards bite people. According to www. ehealthmd. com, “the average deer carries 200 or more ticks at one time”. Approximately half of these ticks are infected with the Lyme disease bacteria. The risk of contracting the disease is higher for people who have pets and for those who do activities outside, such as hiking or gardening.
Lyme disease can be diagnosed in different ways, based on the stage of the disease. In early stages, the presence of a red rash, erythema migrans, after outdoor activities in an area where this disease is common, can be an indicator for the presence of Lyme disease. In later stages, the disease is diagnosed by blood tests. Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) is a laboratory tests use to detect antibodies. The presence of antibodies to the bacterium Borrelia burgdoferi is an indication for the presence of Lyme disease. Another, more precise test is the Western Blot Assay antibody test.
Lyme disease symptoms appear in three phases: “1. Early localized disease; 2. Early disseminated disease; 3. Late disease” (www. medicinenet. com). The first signs of Lime disease are the appearance of a red ring around the bite followed by expanding red rashes that are spreading away from the thick bite. These symptoms are accompanied by swollen glands, stiffness in muscles and joints and generalized fatigue. In the second phase, the bacteria attack the heart and nervous system, causing meningitis and also sore throat, headache, abnormal pulse and fever.
In the late phase, the inflammation of the heart muscle can lead to abnormal heart rhythms and heart failure. This phase is also characterized by paralysis of the facial muscles and inflammation of the joints, the later leading to chronic arthritis. A secondary effect of Lyme disease seems to be depression and anxiety, which have a higher occurrence in people with this type of disease. In the majority of cases, depending on the stage, Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics. Doxycycline and amoxicillin are the antibiotics used in early stages of the disease.
They can cure the disease in about two weeks, without any consequences. In later stages, when the nervous system is affected, the use of intravenous drugs such as penicillin G and ceftriaxone is necessary. Also, pain-relieving medicine and the removal of fluid from the joints (arthrocentesis) may be necessary. To prevent Lyme disease, it is necessary to use protection such as insect repellant sprays containing DEET (diethyl-meta-toluamide) when outdoor. Also, long sleeves and pants are recommended, especially when hiking in areas with a known risk of Lyme disease.
The clothes used on these trips have to be washed and in the eventuality of discovering a thick it has to be saved and shown to a doctor. In thick infested areas, people must avoid contact with vegetation and soil as much as possible and wear light-colored clothing and enclosed shoes. The main risk factors are spending time in the woods or areas with grass, exposing your skin and not removing the ticks fast of properly. Lyme disease is a treatable disease that does not cause many problems if discovered and treated early. This is why it is important to know the risk factors and what we need to do to prevent it.
Courtney from Study Moose
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