Lyme Disease Symptoms

Lyme disease is an infection caused by bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. It is also called borreliosis. Infected ticks spread this infection by biting humans and animals.

Lyme disease was thought as a tick-borne disease until 1982 when B. burgdorferi bacteria was identified as the cause of Lyme disease. The disease is named for the village of Lyme, Connecticut, where a number of cases were identified in 1975.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease:

If Lyme disease is not treated in time, it may progress in stages from mild symptoms to serious, long-term disabilities. There are three stages of Lyme disease depending on the severity: Early localized, Early disseminated and Late persistent. Symptoms vary on the severity the disease.

Symptoms for Stage 1: Early localized infection (1 to 4 weeks)

  • The first symptom is a round, red rash that spreads at the site of a tick bite. This rash can get very large
  • Some people may not have the rash but have flu-like symptoms in the early stage of the disease
  • Lack of energy or fatigue
  • Headache and stiff neck
  • Fever and chills
  • Muscle and joint pai
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Symptoms for Stage 2: Early disseminated infection (1 to 4 months)

If Lyme disease is not detected and treated while early symptoms due to any reasons, then the infection may affect the skin, joints, nervous system, and heart within weeks to months after the initial infection.

Symptoms at this stage may include:

  • Development of additional skin rashes in several places on the body
  • Pain, weakness, or numbness in the arms or legs
  • Paralysis of the facial nerves
  • Recurring headaches or fainting
  • Poor memory and reduced ability to concentrate
  • Conjunctivitis (pinkeye) or sometimes damage to deep tissue in the eyes
  • Palpitations and, in rare cases, serious heart problems

Symptoms at Stage 3: Late persistent infections (Above 4 months)
Very late stage of Lyme disease can lead to damage of joints, nerves, and brain. Symptoms at this stage may include:

  • Swelling, pain and inflammation in the joints, especially in the knees
  • Numbness and tingling in the hands, feet, or back
  • Severe fatigue
  • Partial facial nerve paralysis (Bell’s palsy), which usually occurs within the first few months after the tick bite
  • Neurological changes, including problems with memory, mood, or sleep, and sometimes problems speaking
  • Chronic Lyme arthritis, which causes recurring episodes of swelling, redness, and fluid build up in one or more joints that last up to 6 months at a time

Facts and Statistics on Lyme Disease:

  • It is the most common tick borne infectious disease in the United States.
  • In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found out 6,277 probable cases and 28,921 confirmed cases of this disease.
  • When compared to the statistics of the previous year, there was a rise of 5 percent in this disease.
  • Highest incidences of this disease are reported in the North-east states between Massachusetts and Maryland. North-central states like Wisconsin and Minnesota come next in the prevalence list of this disease.
  • New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania were the top 5 states with highest number of this disease being reported in 2008.
  • 1 billion dollars is the annual expenditure the government has to shell out to address this menace.
  • It has surpassed AIDS disease too becoming the fastest growing infectious epidemic in this country.
  • It is one of the most under-reported tick borne ailment, with only 10-12 percent of this disease reported to the CDC.
  • According to an estimate, there can be 9 cases of this infection for every 1,00,000 individuals in the United States.
  • The bacteria causing this disease is active until the ground temperature raises above 35 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the reason why, the risk of getting this infection remains throughout the year.
  • However, the risk is high between May and September, baed on observation.
  • People belonging to the age group of 2-15 years and 30-55 years, irrespective of the gender, are at high risk of getting affected.

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