Lyme disease can be seen in the Northern Hemisphere and is a disease which is spread by Ticks. Three bacteria species of Borellia genus are known to be responsible for this disease. Borrelia burgdorferi is the main source of the disease in North America, while Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii are accountable for most European infections.
The hard-bodied ticks of genus Ixodes are the main vectors of the bacteria which are normally found in deer or mice. Genus Ixodes also spreads the disease to humans. These ticks are parasites which feed on blood and are the main transmitters of many blood-borne diseases. Ticks when they are in the houri stage of their development are responsible for a number of infections.
Since the tick nymphs are very active during the summer most people become infected with Lyme during the months ranging from May to September. The disease normally has a brooding period of 1 to 2 weeks prior to the actual indication of the onset of the disease. In North America black legged ticks are the major carriers of the disease while in Europe the sheep tick and castor bean tick are the central culprits.
It may be fascinating to note that spread of the disease is in fact rare from tick bites. Only about 1% of all tick bites result in Lyme disease. This is because the infected tick has to be bonded to its dupe for at least 24 hours before the bacteria enter the bloodstream. Of the ill-fated people who are infected by a deer tick, only 20% recall having being bitten.
Since most ticks which spread the malady are tick nymphs, their bites are not noticed because of their modest size. After biting these ticks excrete thick secretions which numb the area of the bite preventing any pain or itching. Some cases people do not even get a rash after being bitten and thus will not realize he/she has been infected. This can be potentially dangerous as late diagnosis of the illness makes it much more difficult to treat and, if left untreated, Lyme disease causes a myriad of serious symptoms leading to death.
Progress of the Infection
The infection progresses in 3 stages. Each stage has its own specific symptom. These indications step by step, become worse if treatment is not given early on.
- Early indications like rashes, muscle soreness and flu are not life threatening, but this soon builds up to much more serious disorders and leads to death.
- The major disorders can be heart palpitations, adverse neurological effects, arthritis, psychosis and chronic degradation of several major organ functions which might result in death.
Almost majority of the patients are healed after a few weeks of taking antibiotics. But patients with some sort of neurological or cardiac symptoms from Lyme disease infection may need intravenous treatment with ceftriaxone or penicillin. Treatment at the early stages of the infection is usually enough for full recovery. Patients in the later stages of disease with unrelenting or repeated indications should be treated with a second 4-week course of therapy.