Lyme disease is a Bacterial Infection
by Laurel Scott
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. It is a bacterial infection that is spread through the bite of one of several types of ticks.
Causes of Lyme disease
There are various stages of Lyme disease.
In first stage the infection has not spread throughout the body.
In second stage of Lyme disease the bacteria have begun to spread throughout the body.
And in third stage the bacteria have spread throughout the body.
Risk factors for Lyme disease include: doing outside work i.e. gardening, in an area where Lyme disease is known to occur.
Symptoms of Lyme disease
Symptoms of early localized Lyme disease stage first begin days or weeks after infection. They are similar to flu and may include: fever, general ill feeling, headache, joint pain, muscle pain etc. Lyme disease can spread to the brain, heart, and joints.
Symptoms of second stage may occur weeks to months after the tick bite and may include: numbness or pain in the nerve area, paralysis or weakness in the muscles of the face, heart problems, chest pain, or shortness of breath
Symptoms of stage third can occur months or years after the infection. The most common symptoms are muscle and joint pain. Other symptoms may include: Abnormal muscle movement, joint’s swelling, muscle weakness, numbness and tingling, speech problems etc.
Tests for Lyme disease
A blood test can be done to check for antibodies to the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. The most commonly used is the ELISA for Lyme disease test. An immunoblot test is done to confirm ELISA results.
In areas where Lyme disease is more common, your health care provider may be able to diagnose early disseminated Lyme disease without doing any lab tests. In the early stage of infection, blood tests can be normal.
Treatment of Lyme disease
Anyone who has been bitten by a tick should be watched closely for at least 30 days.
A single dose of doxycycline may be offered to someone soon after being bitten by a tick, if all of these conditions are true:
- The person has a tick that can carry Lyme disease attached to his or her body. This usually means that a nurse or physician has looked at and identified the tick.
- The tick is thought to have been attached to the person for at least 36 hours.
- The person can begin taking the antibiotics within 72 hours of removing the tick.
- The person is over 8 years old and is not pregnant or breastfeeding.
A 10 day to 4-week course of antibiotics is used to treat people who are diagnosed with Lyme disease, depending on the choice of drug.
- The choice of antibiotic depends on the stage of the disease and the symptoms
- Common choices include doxycycline, amoxicillin, azithromycin, cefuroxime, and ceftriaxone