Lyme Disease

By: Joey Swink

Overview

The history of Lyme disease began in 1975 in Lyme, Connecticut. By 1977, the first 51 cases of Lyme diseases were described, and the black-legged tick was linked to the disease. During 1982 the bacterium that causes Lyme disease was discovered. In 1987, Lyme disease became a reportable disease. The first federal funding for Lyme disease research became available in 1991. The first Lyme disease vaccine became available in 1997. However, the manufacturer withdrew the vaccine from the market in 2001. In 2002, the vaccine efficacy study ended, and Lyme disease was removed from the list of laboratory reportable findings; however, it remained a reportable disease. Lyme disease may cause symptoms affecting the skin, nervous system, heart and joints of an individual .It is important to get early treatment for Lyme disease. Although symptoms may go away after a while, that does not mean the disease is gone. People who get early treatment with antibiotics usually get better without any complications. There is only one form of Lime disease and it is spreading rapidly.

Causes

Lyme disease is an infection caused by bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi . In the U.S., the bacteria is transmitted to people and animals by the bite of an infected black-legged tick, commonly called the deer tick.

Incidence

About 300,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year. Lyme disease is a infection affecting all age groups. In the United States, the incidence of Lyme disease is considered to be disproportionately high among Whites because of risk of exposure. Lyme disease is rarely, if ever, fatal.

Diagnosis

If the doctor suspects a recent infection, then they may order an antibody blood test. Since 2002, a specific vaccine is no longer given.

Treatment

  • Oral antibiotics. These are the standard treatment for early-stage Lyme disease.
  • Intravenous antibiotics. If the disease involves the central nervous system, your doctor may recommend treatment with an intravenous antibiotic up to14 to 28 days.

Prevention

  • Wear long pants and long sleeves.
  • Use insect repellents.
  • Check yourself, your children and your pets for ticks.
  • Remove a tick as soon as possible with tweezers.

Facts

According to the CDC, Lyme Disease is the fastest growing infectious disease in the U.S.

there are 5 subspecies of Borrelia burgdorferi, over 100 strains in the U.S., and 300 strains worldwide.