Lyme disease is an infectious disease and its recognition has been increasing in recent years. It is associated, among others, with the increase in the population of infected ticks, global warming, and spending our free time actively in nature, but also with the growing awareness of the risk of this disease. Undoubtedly, many myths arose around Lyme disease that were not based on medical knowledge. That is why it is worth knowing current and credible facts in this regard.
What is Lyme disease
Lyme disease is a zoonotic disease caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which can be infected by tick bites. Ticks are ruthless parasites from the arachnid family that feed on blood. The main source of this food for ticks are small rodents. There are Lyme Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis.
Is it possible to get infected from someone else
Lyme disease can only be infected by ticks, nothing is known about the transmission of Lyme disease by other vectors, including insects. The Lyme disease bacterium lives in the tick intestine and from there through the bloodstream enters through the tick bite into the human bloodstream. Symptoms of Lyme disease differ in different parts of the world, this is due to the genetic diversity of Borrelia spirochetes. On the other hand, the symptoms of Borrelia spp infection also depend on the patient’s immune factors.
Diagnosis and treatment
Lyme disease occurs in stages and, if left untreated, can lead to symptoms associated with various organs such as skin, nervous system, joints, heart, vision. There are 3 stages of the disease:
Early phase localized
After a tick bite, it may (usually in the same place) develop a characteristic skin change – migratory erythema. It appears no sooner than 3 days after a tick bite. The redness that occurs immediately after the prick is a result of the inflammatory response, not a sign of Lyme disease. Initially, the erythema migrating looks like a small lump, which then enlarges and reaches a diameter of at least 5 cm, often with central clearing inside. The clinical picture is very characteristic in this phase and in most cases the doctor can diagnose and start treatment based on the symptoms.
Early disseminated and late phase localized
When Borrelia burgdorferii multiplies in the subcutaneous tissue, it can spread the bacteria and engage in various organs. Symptoms of the nervous system, joints, circulatory system, skin and eyesight may then appear.
Treatment of Lyme disease involves the administration of antibiotics. The decision whether it will be oral or intravenous antibiotic therapy depends on the clinical symptoms.
The duration of antibiotic therapy is approximately 21 days. According to current guidelines, in justified cases the treatment can be repeated once. Lyme disease symptoms may disappear slowly. Sometimes it may take weeks, sometimes even months after treatment.