About Lyme disease
In recent times, Lyme disease has become prevalent around the world. According to the CDC, the United States of America witness as much as 30,000 new cases of Lyme disease every year. This is even ten times lesser than the number of people estimated by the Journal of Investigative Medicine to be diagnosed with the disease each year in the country. The disease has been reported in over 49 different states. Thus, making it the most common vector-borne disease in the country. So, what do you need to know about this disease?
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is an infectious disease that is caused by a bacteria known as Borrelia burgdorferi. The bacteria is typically transmitted to human beings through bites from ticks. However, recent studies have revealed that Lyme disease can also be passed across the placenta during pregnancy. It is also suggested that the disease can be transmitted sexually. Interestingly, about a hundred of the three hundred strains of the Borrelia bacteria found worldwide are located in the United States.
Common vectors include Deer, White-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus), and small birds.
As earlier stated, Lyme disease is usually transmitted by ticks. Mostly, ticks are often found in areas where tall grasses, woods, and bushes. Once a tick finds a suitable host (either animal or human being), it attaches itself to a part of the host’s blood. It feeds on this part and grows rapidly within the next 72 hours. While feeding, the tick typically releases the Borrelia burgdorferi into the host body via its saliva. Other infections called the co-infections which include Anaplasmosis, Bartonella, Babesia, Colorado Tick Fever, Ehrlichia and many others might also be released. The Borrelia burgdorferi together with the co-infections and other factors make up what is known as the Chronic Lyme Disease Complex.
Effects of Lyme disease
Lyme disease can cause a lot of damages to the host body system. Some of which may include:
- Activation of dormant infections
- Weakening of the host immune system
- Reactivation or contraction of secondary co-infections such as viruses, fungi, and parasites.
Symptoms of Lyme disease
The most common signs and symptoms of the Lyme disease are:
Bull’s eye rash (typically developed within 3-30 days)
- Joint pains
- Raised red borders around indurated central portion
Even though the symptoms listed above are common, many Lyme disease patients do not exhibit them initially (this might take up to years). For instance, the International Lyme and Associated Diseases (ILAD) reports that fewer than 50% of people living with Lyme disease recall having a bull’s eye rash. Several reasons can cause this. One of these is Lyme disease’s ability to mimic other diseases such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Parkinson’s and Rheumatoid Arthritis. This may also be caused by the patient receiving inaccurate test results on standard line blood test, Elisa, or Western Blot.
Lyme disease Treatment
The most widely recommended treatment for Lyme disease is the use of an antibiotic known as Doxycycline. However, it is worth noting that the potency of the antibiotic is dependent on certain factors. For example, Biofilm.
What is a Biofilm?
A biofilm is a group of substances that allow Lyme disease and its co-infectors to hide. They have the ability to prevent the antibiotics from being effective. They do this by allowing the disease to lay dormant in the body until the conditions within the body are favorable for the disease to continue its attack.
IN A NUTSHELL
To get the best out of Doxycycline, we recommend that patients use the antibiotic 1-4 weeks after detection of the Lyme disease. Most of the time, immediate use of the drug is usually curative.