Lyme disease: symptoms, causes and treatment

Many diseases can affect us more or less. Many of them are caused by bacterial or viral infections, infections that can occur for different reasons. Some of them are caused by bites or bites from other living things, such as insects. Here’s what’s going on with Lyme disease, Which we will talk about throughout this article.

    Lyme disease: basic symptoms

    Relatively common in the northern hemisphere, Lyme disease is an infectious disease transmitted by the bite of certain species of ticks. This is a disease of bacterial origin, Which can evolve in several stages. We are also dealing with an old knowledge of humanity: there are vestiges of its very existence even in prehistoric times, although the first cases documented as such date from the last century.

    This disorder can appear at any age and gender, as these variables are not decisive when it comes to getting sick or not. They are generally more likely to appear in people who are often outdoors in areas where regular guests of these ticks live.

    The most notorious symptoms of this disorder are the presence of an erythema at the level of the bite, Which can spread (usually called erythema migrans), with typical flu symptoms. The presence of nausea, conjunctivitis, headache, feeling of fatigue and muscle stiffness are relatively common.

    If the disease progresses may occur arthritis, loss of muscle tone, facial paralysis, tremors, Increased stress, memory problems and even breathing problems that could stop in this function. It can also affect the brain in the form of neuroborreliosis, causing paralysis and meningitis, and even psychiatric symptoms such as hallucinations.

    However, some people may suffer from a course of the disease to a chronic stage, especially if they were not treated or detected in time. Although some deaths have been described (for example, from cardiopulmonary arrest), death of the subject from Lyme disease is not common.

      cause

      The origin of this disease is in the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi (in fact Lyme disease is also known as borreliosis) which is introduced into the body by the bite of certain species of ticks (although other insects can transmit it, such as mosquitoes and fleas). ), being very common that they transmit ticks of the genus Ixodes to it.

      These ticks are common in rodents, horses and deer. Humans are not usually the host for these beings, but accidental exposure to these insects can result in a sting. Despite this, not all such ticks transmit the bacteria mentioned earlier, causing Lyme disease only to those infected with it. While this article primarily explores disease and symptoms caused in humans, it can affect other animals and pets as well.

      To transmit the bacteria and cause Lyme disease, it is estimated that the tick must adhere to the skin for one to two days, although its small size can make it difficult to know how long it has been in the body. he.

      Lyme disease is not contagious in humans: It is not spread through physical contact, breathing, or sexual intercourse. The patient can only transmit it if a tick infected with the bacteria passes from its carrier to another. For example, if a dog is suffering from the disease, it will not infect its caregiver per se, although it may have ticks attached, which it might.

        Stages of the disease

        As we mentioned, Lyme disease can go through a series of stages during which different symptoms can come and go. It can take weeks from the bite to the onset of symptoms, although it is common for symptoms to appear between a few days and a week after the bite. More precisely, the following phases stand out.

        1. Early localized infection

        At this stage, a migratory erythema usually appears around the tick bite, which it can cause itching and other altered sensations in the skin. In general, no more symptoms appear. Sometimes discomfort and bluish lymphocytomas also appear in areas such as the ears.

        2. Early spreading infection

        The bacteria have entered and spread throughout the body and can cause other skin damage in areas other than the bite, as well as fatigue and muscle pain. Some more serious symptoms may be the onset of arrhythmias and heart problems. It is at this stage that neurological problems tend to appear. such as meningitis, paralysis or hallucinations.

        3. Late infection

        After several months of untreated infection, they usually cause joint problems (in fact one of the first names of this disease is Lyme arthritis) which can become permanent. Problems like memory loss also appear and alterations in the level of consciousness and encephalitis may appear.

        treatment

        Lyme disease usually has effective diagnosis and treatment which usually ends in a patient’s full recovery.

        The first element to consider is the possibility that the tick transmitted by the bacteria or its bite still occupies the subject’s body. A first step to follow is removal of the arachnid from the body by means of hooks or tweezers, as well as disinfection of the area. If a bite is identified, it is recommended to observe the patient for at least a month to check whether or not symptoms appear.

        Subsequently, different antibiotics will be applied depending on the characteristics of the patient, the course of the disease and the symptoms. This treatment usually cures the disease over a period of several weeks, although residual symptoms can sometimes appear. In cases where this disease is chronicIt may be necessary to apply a more continuous antibiotic treatment schedule over time.

        They may also apply pain relievers to fight any muscle pain or other medicines to control fever and other symptoms that appear during illness.

        Bibliographical references:

        • Herrera, O .; Infant, J .; Ramírez, R. and Lavastida, H. (2012). Lyme disease: history, microbiology, epizootiology and epidemiology. Cuban Journal of Hygiene and Epidemiology, 50 (2). City of Havana, Cuba.
        • Dickinson, FO and Batlle, MC (1997). Lyme borreliosis: approach to an emerging infectious disease. Cuban Journal of Hygiene and Epidemiology, 35 (2). City of Havana, Cuba.

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