The Truth About Lyme Disease

According to the CDC, insurance records suggest that approximately 476,000 Americans are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease annually. It’s among the fastest-growing infectious diseases in American. It’s a vector-borne disease, which, if left untreated, can have devastating consequences. Many patients are misdiagnosed, and some struggle with persistent infection after diagnosis and treatment. However, there are many misconceptions about Lyme disease. Visit AFC Urgent Care Burlington to learn about Lyme disease and to receive treatment for any symptoms you may be experiencing.

Cause of Lyme Disease

In the United States, Lyme disease is caused by the bite of a black-legged or deer tick infected with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii. The bacteria enter the bloodstream through the bite on the skin. It’s hard to detect young, brown ticks that are roughly less than 2 millimeters in size. In general, the tick must attach itself to the skin for 36-48 hours and feed to transmit the disease.

Truths About Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease has Varying Symptoms

Early signs and symptoms that may appear within 30 days of infection include an expanding red rash (erythema migrans) that can reach 12 inches in diameter and might feel warm to the touch. Accompanying the rash may be other symptoms such as chills, fever, body ache and fatigue, headache, swollen lymph nodes, and neck stiffness. If left untreated, later signs may include rash located on other parts of the body, joint pain, and neurological problems.

Limited Public Funding For Lyme Disease

Despite being one of the fastest-growing infectious diseases in the nation, Lyme research is significantly underfunded compared to other common disorders. For example, Lyme research public funding is less than 2% of the funding West Nile receives and 0.2% of funding for HIV/AIDS. It’s important to note that the annual new cases for Lyme disease far exceed these illnesses.

Million+ People Struggle With Persistent Lyme Disease

Even after treatment, according to research, a significant number of people have persistent symptoms. Some 20% of Lyme patients exhibit symptoms post-treatment, which may be a sign that the bacteria persists to some degree.

Current Diagnostics Miss Numerous Acute Cases

The current standard relies on a two-tiered ELISA/Western Blot blood test, which measures human antibodies against the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. This is an indirect approach that tests the body’s response to the infection rather than check for the presence of the bacteria itself. The present “gold standard” diagnostics miss roughly 60% of acute cases of Lyme infection.

Myths About Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease Is an Uncommon Illness

Health authorities have had it wrong for years suggesting that Lyme disease only affects a small portion of the population. As stated earlier, there are more than 400,000 reported new cases of Lyme disease each year. This is far more than the number of new cases of HIV.

Effective Treatment With Antibiotics Will Prevent Lyme Disease From Persisting

Based on research, it’s misleading to suggest that treatment of Lyme disease with a couple of weeks of antibiotics is all a patient will need to recover. Findings reveal that for many Lyme patients, a single course of antibiotics treatment is not the remedy. The bacteria B. burgdorferi survives after the antibiotics have been administered, and symptoms can persist for weeks or years, developing into post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome.

You Can Only Get Infected With Lyme Disease on the East Coast

Lyme disease’s discovery in Lyme, Connecticut, doesn’t make the disease endemic to the East Coast. The reach of the black-legged ticks is expanding because of factors like human encroachment. This brings them closer to tick habitats, migratory animals transporting the ticks across state lines, and climate change which extends the warm seasons, increasing the lifespan of ticks.

Lyme disease is a growing health problem that requires more attention. Direct testing for the bacteria that causes the infection should be developed to help with early detection and to minimize that chance of misdiagnosis. Knowing the truth about Lyme disease can help you to separate facts from fiction and help you make the best decision for your health. Visit AFC Urgent Care Burlington this Spring if you think you may have Lyme disease.

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