There is a disease which is raging in North America; forty-nine out of fifty states have reported cases, and the amount of those who become infected rise each and every year, with no downward trends. What is this mysterious and pandemic disease? It is none other than “Borreliosis”, also known as Lyme’s disease.
Lyme’s disease is a vector borne illness that is usually associated with black legged ticks (such as deer ticks and wood ticks) and is transmitted through the bite of an infected insect. Although recent research entertains the idea that the disease may be transmittable through mosquito bites, most experts agree that the disease can only be contracted from deer and possibly wood ticks.
Although many may know of Lyme’s disease, and what it is, very few are actually aware that the disease varies greatly in its initial stages. Popular opinion dictates that the disease is always associated with a “bulls-eye” rash that appears at the site of the bite. However, the truth is that very few cases of Lyme’s (as little as 30% or so) have any development or rash. Therein lies one of the major dangers of Lyme’s disease, few who are infected actually know that they are sick. Many feel that without the rash, the disease cannot be present. Whereas this is simply not the case. If a rash fails to appear, one must attempt to identify the disease by its symptoms.
The symptoms of Lyme’s disease are in fact often confused with the flu. The disease can result in swollen glands, joint pain or weakness, light to moderate fever, drowsiness and even headaches. It is important that anyone who is experiencing these symptoms and has been exposed to the possibility of tick bite check with their doctor immediately.
Lyme’s dsease can only be detected with a blood test. In which case the blood will be tested for two distinct antibodies. One, known as IgM, which is the initial, stage 1 antibody, and another known as ImM, a secondary precaution used by the body. In most cases, if a patient has contracted Lyme’s, but has had the disease for only a limited amount of time, he or she will test positive for the IgM antibody, but not the ImM, although exceptions have been known to occur. However, it is very important to remember that even a blood test may not be a fool-proof measure in detecting the disease.
The problem is that the Lyme’s antibodies do not appear immediately upon infection, and can take anywhere from two to four weeks to appear. Thus, if a blood test is done too early, it will not truly indicate the presence of the disease. In extreme cases, where Lyme’s may be suspected to enter the nervous system, a spinal tap may be done in order to check the possibility of a large scale and incredibly dangerous infection.
Although Lyme’s disease does sometimes carry life-long consequences, the chances are good that is the disease is caught early, long term symptoms are either eliminated or very rare. This is one of the primary reasons why early detection of the disease is so important. If you suspect, or know that you have been bitten by a deer tick, and are experiencing any of the symptoms of Lyme’s, it is of incredible importance to contact a doctor immediately.
Luckily, treatment of Lyme’s in the early stages is relatively painless and most times very effective. The infection is usually either treated with an oral antibiotic, such as “Doxycycline” or a powerful shot of antibiotics directly into the bloodstream. Whichever treatment method is used makes very little overall difference, and the method of treatment is usually determined by the doctor or specialist.
When it comes to Lyme’s disease, it is important not to let fear overcome your desire to get help. Often, patients are afraid of hearing the worst, or are relieved of worry when the rash or initial symptoms disappear. Lyme’s disease DOES NOT just vanish. Even when the symptoms disappear, the disease is simply digging itself deeper and deeper into the body. Letting the disease go without treatment can have lifelong and even deadly consequences.