Healthy Living

Eight Facts About Lyme Disease

Eight Facts About Lyme Disease

Key Takeaways

  • The majority of patients with Lyme disease never recall any incident of being bitten by a tick.
  • Lyme disease can mimic several other diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus and arthritis.
  • A negative screening test result does not mean you do not have Lyme disease.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi. It is common in North America and Europe. Many people do not know much about this disease and its harmful effects if left untreated. Here are some facts that you need to know about Lyme disease.

  • The majority of the patients with Lyme disease never recall any incident of being bitten by a tick.

The Lyme disease-causing bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi is transmitted to humans via a tiny deer tick. These ticks are the size of small sesame seeds, too tiny to notice, and are therefore easily missed.

  • The majority of the patients who develop Lyme disease do not get the bull’s-eye rash.

The bull’s-eye rash is one characteristic sign of Lyme disease, which most people believe that everyone who gets infected will have. This is not true. Only 50% of patients with Lyme disease will display bull’s-eye rash.

  • There is no special tick that causes Lyme disease.

Any tick can get infected and transmit the disease to you. The most common vector is the deer tick. A tick has three stages in its life cycle, and it can infect you at any of these stages.

The nymph stage is the most likely stage in which it can transmit the disease, because a nymph is so tiny that it is hard to notice them on the body. On the contrary, the adult stage of the tick can be easily seen due to their increased size after feeding on blood.

  • If Lyme disease is diagnosed early, it can be completely treated with a 4 to 6 week course of antibiotics.
  • Once the spirochete has spread to other tissues through the blood, a simple course of antibiotics may not be able to completely cure you.

No method of treatment has been able to completely destroy the bacteria. Several studies show that even after years of treatment with antibiotics, the Lyme-causing bacteria are still extractable from the body tissues. Therefore, do not delay treatment for Lyme disease. Start your treatment as soon as possible for your best chance of survival.

  • The Lyme-causing bacteria can remain dormant for several years without producing any symptoms at all.

This way, it could evade drug therapy as well as the immune system.

The difference between Lyme disease and other conditions is that Lyme disease can be completely cured.

  • A negative screening test result does not mean you do not have Lyme disease.

The standard screening tests available for Lyme disease are the Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) and the Western blot test. These tests are very unreliable. A number of studies show that only about 35% of the cases with Lyme disease will show positive results using these screening tests. Therefore, keep in mind that a negative test result does not mean that you do not have Lyme disease.