LYME DISEASE & TREATMENT
Definition: What is "lyme disease"?
Also called borreliosis, lyme disease is an infectious disease that results from an invasion of a bacteria from the genus Borrelia. The point of infection is usually the bite of a contaminated black-legged or deer tick. Other carriers, including other kinds of ticks, may also pass the affliction to humans. In the US, lyme disease is primarily caused by borrelia burgdorferi, whereas Borrelia afzelii & Borrelia garinii are the predominant causes in Europe.
Symptoms & Signs
Acute lyme disease will manifest with reddish "bull's eye" rashes, accompanied by fever, malaise & pain the muscles & tendons. The characteristic rash is known as erythema chronicum migrans & may be visible at the onset. The bacteria may be incubated for 1-2 weeks before symptoms first appear. In some cases, the incubation period may be shorter (within a matter of days) or much, much longer (as in months or years). Other symptoms of Lyme disease are cardiac difficulties & neurologic manifestations.
Treatment: How to Treat "lyme disease"?
Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics, such as doxycycline, amoxicillin & ceftriaxone. Cefuroxime & cefotaxim, or alternatively, macrolide antibiotics, may also be used. The disease can be eliminated if treated early or at the onset. If untreated, lyme disease may advance to a "late stage" that may prove difficult to treat. Late lyme disease can be disabling to afflicted patients.
The gram-negative spirochetal bacteria from the genus Borrelia is the culprit of Lyme disease. Of the 37 Borrelia species known to date, at least 12 may cause Lyme. This group of the Borrelia genus is known collectively as burgdorferi sensu lato.
Lyme disease can be diagnosed on the basis of clinical exam findings, plus a history of exposure to Lyme areas. The EM rash, which does not manifest in every case, is enough to establish a diagnosis even if serologies turn out negative. Blood tests can be useful, but have no diagnostic relevance.