Lyme Disease refers to the infectious illness caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. Borrelia is a spiral-shaped bacterium, known as a spirochete ("spi-ruh-keet"), which crosses over into the blood stream of a human during the bite of an infected tick.
It is more clinically useful to expand the definition to include co-infections that are transmitted along with the Borrelia, such as Babesia, Bartonella, Rickettsia and Ehrlichia.
There are different phases of infection in Lyme Disease.
Early Stage: The classic sign of early local infection with Lyme disease is a circular, outwardly expanding rash called erythema migrans (or EM rash), which may occur at the site of the tick bite 3-30 days after the bite. The EM rash is absent in a over 50% of Lyme diseas e cases. Early Lyme may present with flu-like illness, fevers, malaise, muscle soreness and headache.
Chronic Lyme: This stage is the phase of Lyme disease that thousands of people suffer from on an on-going basis. It includes the illness being present for at least one year, persistent major neurologic involvement or active arthritic manifestations and an active active infection with B. burgdorferi (Bb), regardless of prior antibiotic therapy (if any).
May is Lyme Awareness Month and we will be speaking to Congressmen, Senators, and Businesses about AWARENESS! This is more important than ever with insurance companies starting acceptance!!
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How is Lyme Disease Transmitted?
Traditionally, Lyme disease has been considered a tick-borne illness, and although there is no doubt that is the most common route of transmission, evidence indicates that there are other routes of transmission.
First, ticks that most often transmit Lyme disease are in the nymph stage of their lifecycle and are about the size of a poppy seed. Second, ticks numb the skin with an injection of local anesthetic before they actually bite, so they can remain undetected while attached. Third, it is possible that other insects such as fleas, mice, lice and mosquitoes may be able to transmit Borrelia spirochetes to humans and cause infection.
Is Lyme disease sexually transmitted?
A major point of contention and controversy, yet given that syphilis, also a spirochete bacterium, is sexually transmitted, it seems reasonable to postulate that Lyme may indeed be sexually transmitted also.
Mothers passing Lyme disease to their babies in utero has been validated. There is a growing number of children diagnosed with Lyme disease, whose mothers also have Lyme disease and were experiencing symptoms at the time of their pregnancy, even if they were not officially diagnosed at the time.
What is Lyme Disease?