What is Lyme Disease and Symptoms of Lyme Disease

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        <p>Lyme disease (LD) is a multi-system bacterial infection caused
by a the spirochete Borrelia burgdoferi (Bb). The pathogen was named in
honor of the discoverer and a founding board member of the Lyme Disease
Foundation, Willy Burgdorfer, PhD, MD (hon).<br><br>The investigators
discovered that most of the affected children lived near wooded areas
likely to harbor ticks. They also found that the children's first
symptoms typically started in the summer months coinciding with the
height of the tick season.<br><br>Ecology of Lyme Disease<br><br>LD is
transmitted to humans by ticks. Larval and nymphal stages feed on
infected reservoir hosts, acquire the organism and then, after moulting
to the next life stage (nymphs and adults respectively), pass on the
infection to humans and other animals. In the northern hemisphere, small
placental mammals are reservoir hosts.<br><br>Causes of Lyme
Disease<br><br>B. burgdorferi bacteria cause Lyme disease. The bacteria
have a complex life cycle, spending part of their life in the deer tick
and part in some mammals such as mice and deer.<br><br>Location - Some
states have a higher incidence of Lyme disease than others. The 10 states
that have the most reported cases of Lyme Disease yearly include New
York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota,
Maryland, Delaware, New Hampshire, and Maine. Increased risk in these
areas can be attributed to a greater amount of wooded areas and a larger
quantity of deer.<br><br>Symptoms of Lyme Disease<br><br>Migratory joint
pain. If the infection is not treated, you may develop bouts of severe
joint pain and swelling several weeks to months after you're infected.
Your knees are especially likely to be affected, but the pain can shift
from one joint to another.<br><br>Symptoms of Lyme disease are diverse
and often occur in early and late phases. They vary widely from person to
person. Any one symptom may fail to appear, and symptoms may overlap in
various combinations. Death from Lyme disease is very rare and occurs
only in a few cases in which the heart is severely affected.<br><br>How
is Lyme disease treated<br><br>Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics.
Early-stage Lyme disease responds very well to treatment. In most cases,
14 to 30 days of treatment with an antibiotic kills the bacteria. Your
doctor will tell you how many days to take the antibiotic. It's important
for you to take all the medicine your doctor prescribes to prevent the
spread of Lyme disease to your joints, nervous system or
heart.<br><br>Intravenous antibiotics<br>If the disease has progressed,
your doctor may recommend treatment with an intravenous antibiotic for 14
to 28 days. This is effective in eliminating infection, although it may
take some time to recover symptomatically. Intravenous antibiotics can
cause various side effects, including a lower white blood cell count,
gallstones and mild to severe diarrhea.</p>        <!--INFOLINKS_OFF-->
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