Lyme disease – an infectious disease caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted by ticks. It is characterized by a tendency to chronic and recurrent course and the primary lesion of the skin, nervous system, musculoskeletal, and heart.
This disease was first identified in 1975 in the village of Lime (USA), when a group of patients was detected arthritis, which is characterized by an unusual course.
Infection occurs through the bite of an infected tick. Pathogens Borrelia burgdorferi from tick saliva enter the skin and within a few days, multiply, then they spread to other areas of the skin and internal organs (including heart, brain, joints). The causative agents for a long time (years) can be stored in the body, causing chronic and recurrent course of the disease. The chronic form of the disease may develop many years after infection. Lyme disease is diagnosed by special blood tests and symptoms.
Currently, there are techniques that allow you to recognize the disease faster than the previously used antibody tests.
Tick bite Ixodes dammini, which is a carrier of spirochetes Borrelia burgdorferi.
Symptoms of Lyme disease
The appearance on the site of tick bite skin redness. Red spot on the periphery gradually increases, reaching 1-10 cm in diameter, sometimes up to 60 cm or more. The shape is round or oval spots, rarely wrong. The outer edge of a red inflamed skin, somewhat raised above the skin. Over time, the central part of the spot becomes pale or bluish tint, created by the shape of the ring. At the site of the tick bite in the center of the spot is determined by a crust, then a scar. The stain remains untreated, 2-3 weeks, then disappears.
The joints are hot, swollen and painful (most often affects the knee joints), pain in muscles and tendons.
Neurological symptoms – paralysis (most commonly on the face), skin sensitivity disorders, insomnia, loss of hearing.
From the heart: arrhythmias, increased heart rate, bradycardia, chest pain, dizziness, shortness of breath.
Complications and possible consequences of Lyme disease
Lyme disease most often occurs in late spring or early summer. After 1-2 weeks of flu-like symptoms, which may be accompanied by a rash, usually disappear. Recent studies have shown that bacteria can penetrate into the brain and spinal cord in the early stages of the disease.
In the absence of treatment at an early stage of the disease a few weeks or months developing complications of the heart, joints, nervous system. However, even in patients treated early, complications occur in 15% of cases.
Since the non-specific symptoms, Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed and treated as rheumatoid arthritis, meningitis, multiple sclerosis.
Weakness, mood changes and neurological symptoms are common causes of misdiagnosis of mental illness, chronic fatigue syndrome and other rare disorders that may accompany these symptoms.
The disease is rarely fatal, but complications of the heart can appear life-threatening arrhythmias, infections during pregnancy, which can lead to miscarriage.
What you can do?
When a severe weakness, need a rest. Acetylsalicylic acid or paracetamol can be taken to ease flu-like symptoms and joint pain. If it affects the joints need rest, or possibly irreversible damage to the affected joints.
What can a doctor?
For the treatment of Lyme disease is prescribed antibiotics, usually tetracycline or penicillin, which is used internally for at least 2 weeks. In severe cases, a / in the introduction of antibiotics, sometimes for several months or more.
The earlier treatment is started, the better it is.
If there was an infection of pregnant women, it must as soon as possible to inform the doctor, even in the absence of symptoms.
For suspected Lyme disease the physician should prescribe treatment even before the results of blood samples. Pregnant women and patients with severe disease requiring hospitalization and / or / in antibiotic therapy.
Long-term treatment of complications depends on the affected organs. To restore the affected joint may require surgical intervention.