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Lyme disease gets its name from Old Lyme, Connecticut where the disease was initially diagnosed in 1975 after a number of children were found to have juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, a very strange occurrence. In researching the symptoms of Lyme disease, doctors learned that it is transmitted when people are bitten by ticks, notably the deer tick, which is very small and can often go unnoticed when biting the skin.

The clinical name for the spiral shaped bacterium which causes Lyme disease is Borrelia burgdorferi, and is named after the researcher who discovered it, Willy Burgdorfer. Some people suffer long-term effects from Lyme disease symptoms and often feel incapacitated, until the disease is properly diagnosed and treated with medications.

In the United States, Lyme disease is commonly found in the North East and Midwest, with over 90% of cases reported in these nine states: Rhode Island, Maryland, New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Symptoms of Lyme disease

Early symptoms of Lyme disease include a rash called Erythema migrans, near the area of the tick bite. The rash is noticeable in 3-30 days after the tick bite and is usually round, reddish-colored and grows in diameter.

Other symptoms of Lyme disease in the early stage are like the flu:

  • stiff neck
  • painful joints
  • chills and fever
  • swelling of the lymph nodes
  • throbbing headache
  • sleepiness
  • body aches

Over a short period of time, symptoms of Lyme disease can worsen and may include:

  • nervous system issues
  • arthritis and arthritic symptoms
  • extensive pain in the knees

In the first few days to weeks following the tick bite, Lyme disease may cause neurological complications, such as meningitis, a disease that attacks the lining around the brain and spinal column (known as the meninges), and may also cause Bell’s palsy, a disease that weakens muscles of the face as a result of nerve damage. Lyme disease may also trigger carditis, an inflammatory reaction in the heart muscle that produces abnormal heart rhythms along with fainting or lightheadedness

Lyme disease is contracted from tick bitesSeveral months or even years after Lyme disease has an effect on the heart, some changes are still visible on an electrocardiogram (EKG) whether or not there are symptoms of Lyme disease. Another long-term effect may include arthritis, typically a chronic arthritis that frequently has an effect on a single knee or occurrences of inflammation or puffiness in joints, which is known as migratory arthritis.

Lyme disease may be transferred between animals, and from an animal to a human, and may be transmitted under natural or normal conditions. The bacterium may not be transferred from human to human. The infected tick will insert the bacteria into the bloodstream upon biting the host to extract blood.

Lyme disease is responsible for more than 90% of all reported host-to-host diseases in the United States, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) attributes the increasing number of cases to the increase in size of deer herds within the concentrated area that Lyme disease is commonly reported.

Only a few individuals (fewer than 1%) who contract West Nile virus end up being gravely ill. They are normally  older than 50 years of age and have a higher risk of contracting a more critical variety of infection, for example encephalitis or meningitis.

If you or a loved one experience any of these Lyme disease symptoms after being near wooded areas or having been bitten by a tick, immediate care by your family doctor or at a hospital emergency room is required.

2 Responses to Symptoms of Lyme Disease

  • Rihabe says:

    Lyme is very common in hoerss and dogs in some parts of the country. More than half the hoerss at my boarding stable in New England tested positive for it at varying levels. My horse was actually the only one that tested negative, and when the vet called with the results, she said his was the first negative result she’d seen in the town where he was boarded. It’s that common (my dog had it, in fact.)Most infected hoerss are completely asymptomatic; you would never know they have Lyme disease if they aren’t tested. Others suffer joint stiffness, similar to what you’d see with arthritis, but it tends to come and go irregularly and can affect different joints on different days. One horse at my barn became lethargic and lost a lot of weight, but he was old and had other health problems. None of the other hoerss suffered any major symptoms.The good news is, even if your horse does have Lyme, it’s easily treatable with antibiotics and your horse will probably be no worse for wear afterward.

    • DeadlyMicrobes says:

      Thank you Rihabe, We’re hoping your horse continues to stay healthy even while the other horses at the stable are showing signs of Lyme Disease. It can be very troubling when our pets are sick.
      Good Luck and please keep us updated.

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