Lyme Disease Treatment.
Lyme disease treatment is carried out primarily via the administration of antibiotics and if carried out early enough results in 90% of patients responding promptly and completely.
Treatment should be initiated (a) if the tick has been attached for over 36 hours, as evidenced by the degree of tick engorgement with blood, or (b) if signs & symptoms appear.
The antibiotics most commonly used for early Lyme Disease treatment are Doxycycline, Amoxicillin, and Cefuroxime axetil... usually for 10-14 days but sometimes up to 4 weeks (ref: The Infectious Diseases Society of America).
Doxycycline is most commonly used and has the benefit of also being effective against HGA (which some ticks also carry... but is not effective against Babesiosis). However, it is contra-indicated in women during pregnancy or lactation, and children under 8 years of age, and an alternative like Amoxicillin may need to be used.
The Macrolide antibiotics (Azithromycin, Clarithromycin, and Erythromycin) may have to be used in people allergic to Penicillin (since the 1st generation cephalosporins like cephalexin aren't effective in Lyme disease treatment).
Parenteral Ceftriaxone or Cefotaxime given intravenously may be necessary for patients showing signs of meningitis, neurological involvement, or advanced atrioventricular heart block or myopericarditis.
Complications of Lyme Disease Treatment.
Uploaded by jakejmusb on Oct 26, 2011
- Lyme Disease Treatment can be complicated by the fact that ticks can transmit more than one pathogen at the same time such as Babesiosis (in up to 12% of cases), Human Granulocytic Anaplasmosis or HGA (in up to 40% of cases), or Encephalitis depending on the location.
- Serological blood tests for antigens are of limited use in the early stages of the disease due to the possible delay in the body's production of antibodies (which sometimes takes weeks), and possible false positives.
*And not all blood tests available are recommended or approved by the U.S. CDC or Food & Drug Administration.
*If testing is done the CDC currently recommends ELISA (enzyme-linked immuno-assay) together with a Western blot test (ref: National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases 5/23/2011).
- Diagnosis must initially often be based solely on clinical tell-tale signs and symptoms together with evidence of a recent exposure to a Lyme tick-infested area as Lyme disease treatment should not be delayed.
- In some unfortunate victims debilitating symptoms can sometimes persist for years after the bacteria are eliminated (possibly due to an auto-immune reaction).
These patients develop Chronic Post-Treatment Symptoms, especially if Lyme disease treatment isn't initiated early. The US Center for Disease Control believes 10-20% of cases still battle symptoms up to 6 months or more after completion of antibiotic treatment.
- There are currently no vaccines for humans available in the U.S.A.; Lymerix vaccine was discontinued in 2002 due to low uptake, worries about side effects, and the threat of class action lawsuits. A new vaccine is under development and may be introduced late in 2013.
Short video on lyme disease created for a class project at James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Lyme Disease: Signs, Symptoms, Prevention.
What Causes Lyme Disease?
Lyme Disease is a tick-borne sickness whereby pathogenic Borrelia bacteria infect humans. It was first identified from a cluster of infections in the American town of Lyme, Connecticut in 1975 but has been around for hundreds of years.
These spirochete bacteria usually have an incubation period of of 1-2 weeks but this can vary from several days to many months... and are transmitted through the saliva of hard bodied ticks of the Ixodes genus which feed off both rodents, deer and humans.
The most common pathogen in North America is the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, while Borrelia afzelii & garinii are more of a problem in Europe.
Lyme Disease is not contagious.
Where Is Lyme Disease Found?
"Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in the Northern Hemisphere" and is found in the North America, Europe, China, Russia, Japan, and now Australia.
World-wide distribution of reported Lyme Disease cases October 2011... Wikipedia.
Here's a National Lyme Disease Risk Map by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention from 2004 outlining Lyme Disease hot-spots in the U.S.A. (95% of cases occur in the north-east & upper mid-west... around 40,000 cases in 2009 according to the Infectious Disease Society of America).
Dr. Catherine Brown from the Massachusetts Department of Health revealed in June 2012 that they alone receive around 14,000 positive laboratory tests for Lyme Disease every year.
However, some researchers fear the disease is on the increase because of global warming and climate change.
Published on Apr 20, 2012 by TodayTonight
The unpredictable climate has experts warning of a tick explosion, and the threat of Lyme disease that such an epidemic could bring to Australia.
Changing weather patterns bring Lyme Disease to Australia.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease.
- muscle aches.
- joint pains and swelling.
- Erythema Migrans... a characteristic red skin rash (often a "bullseye" with a dark centre) that occurs at the tick-bite site in 80% of cases confirms the need for prompt Lyme disease treatment.
- eventual heart problems if not treated early.
- Acute neurological problems in 10-15% of untreated patients (e.g. facial palsy, meningitis, encephalitis, psychosis)... even paraplegia in extreme cases.
Ways To Prevent Lyme Disease.
Prevention is always better than cure. The best way to avoid unpleasant symptoms and Lyme disease treatment is to take adequate precautions before hand.
Uploaded by TickEncounter on Feb 10, 2010
The steps to safely removing a tick start with a pointy tick removal tweezer. Most household tweezers have large, blunt tips in comparison to ticks. This only increases the chances of tearing the tick and spreading possible infections into the bite area.
Steps to removing a Tick safely : * Use a pointy tick removal tweezer * Disinfect with rubbing alcohol * Grab tick close to skin and use slow, steady motion to pull tick out * Disinfect again * Consider tick testing for infection.
How To Remove A Tick.
- Being aware of and avoid tick-infested regions when hiking or camping outdoors, especially in spring-summer. Otherwise, do a full body tick-check daily.
- Wear long sleeve shirts, pants tucked into socks/boots, and a hat.
- Wear light coloured clothes that make ticks more visible.
- Insect repellants such as DEET may help.
- Spray Permethrin on clothing to kill ticks on contact.
- Carry out regular inspections of skin and clothes, especially the scalp, armpits and groin.
- Remove ticks immediately, the longer the delay the greater the risk of infection... especially longer than 36 hours. Use tweezers close to the skin, pulling straight out (no twisting), without crushing the tick or removing its head.
*People who remove ticks from themselves should be monitored for signs and symptoms of Lyme Disease for up to 30 days.
*Place the tick in a small container to show your doctor.
- Communities in tick-infested areas can try to control/reduce populations of tick carriers like rodents, small mammals, and deer.
- Be aware that family pets can carry ticks into the home from the outdoors.
- Frequent veterinary screening & vaccination of pets and checks on livestock.
- Pregnant women should avoid tick-infested areas as Lyme Disease can be transmitted to the fetus (ref: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases).
More detailed information about Lyme disease treatment can be found at:
American Lyme Disease Foundation