Lyme disease

 

Lyme disease

 

Lyme disease in North America is predominately caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. Borrelia afzelii and borrelia_burgdorferiBorrelia garini cause the majority of Lyme disease cases in Europe. The bacterium causing Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through infected tick bites. However, Borrelia strains can be carried by mice, squirrels and other types of small animals.

 

Types of ticks that transmit Borrelia burgdorferi:

 

  • Black legged tick

  • Deer Tickdeer-tick1

 

 

Symptoms:

 

  • fatigue

  • stabbing and shooting pain

  • blurred vision

  • memory loss and cognitive problems

  • headache

  • swollen joints

  • stiff neck

  • may not always present with characteristic bull’s eye rashbullseye_lyme_disease_rash

Acute or chronic?

  • caught early, one course of antibiotic treatment may be sufficient to treat the infection

  • late stages are very difficult or impossible to completely treat and eradicate

  • may result in long term (even life long) chronic infection

  • Chronic Lyme disease may result in patients who have completed a course of antibiotic treatment yet continue to have symptoms such as severe fatigue, sleep disturbance, and cognitive difficulties.

Chronic Lyme disease is responsible for a range of medical symptoms beyond the objectively recognized manifestations of late Lyme disease. Long-term antibiotic treatment is warranted in these persistent symptomatic cases.

Due to environmental changes such as global warming the range of tick habitat continues to spread throughout North America. This is leading to persons being infected in areas where Lyme disease was previously unheard of.

ticks may now carry and infect an individual with multiple pathogens. This is called co-infection. Co-infection may overwhelm an individual’s immune system. This may result in a longer and more challenging treatment term.

Fetal Infection in Utero:

It has been discovered that Barrellia bacteria are capable to crossing the placenta and infecting the developing fetus in utero.

This can lead to miscarriages.

Additionally, in utero inections may cause severe health complicatrions at or shortly after birth.

A child infected with Barrelia sp. in utero may suffer from permanent developmental disabilities and mental impairment.

Treatment:

antibiotic are used to target the Borrelia sp and cure Lyme disease

  •  doxycycline
  • amoxicillin
  • ceftriaxone

Most cases of Lyme disease can be cured with a 2-4 weeks of treatment

Persons with certain neurological or cardiac forms of illness may require intravenous treatment with:

  •  penicillin 
  • ceftriaxone

 Patients diagnosed in the later stages of the disease can have persistent or recurrent symptoms requiring a longer course of antibiotic treatment.

In some cases with persisent symptoms patients may require long-term antibiotic treatment.

Canadian Lyme Disease Foundation. 2009. retrieved April 18, 2009 from http://www.canlyme.com/

Public Health Agency of Canada. 2009. Lyme Disease. retrived April 18, 2009 from http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/id-mi/lyme-fs-eng.php#6

 

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