Borreliosis or Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Borrelia Burgdorferi. Its carrier is ticks. Ticks attach to the skin of the host organism and feed on its blood. A bacterium (Borrelia) enters the tick's body from the infected host. The tick itself doesn't get sick, but when it moves on the skin of another host, the bacteria, along with the tick's saliva, gets into the new host's bloodstream and makes it sick. If the tick is removed from the skin surface within 24 hours, the risk of borreliosis is small.
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A tick bite may appear as a small nodule accompanied by itching and redness that we may not even notice.
Early symptoms of Lyme disease begin 3-30 days after a tick bite. At this stage, symptoms are very rare.
- A rash is a typical symptom, although it may not develop. The rash is usually represented by a single tick bite, with a surrounding erythematous ring that gradually increases on the periphery, and the central part remains pale in color. It is compared to the "bull's eye" shape. The rash is painless, there is a local increase in temperature.
- General weakness and fatigue
- Joint stiffness
- muscle pain
- Enlargement of lymph nodes
Without treatment, Lyme disease progresses. The symptoms characteristic of the second stage develop in 3-10 weeks after the tick bite. The second stage is called the stage of early dissemination and is much more complicated than the first.
- Rashes in multiple areas of the body
- Neck pain or stiffness
- Facial muscle weakness (bilaterally)
- Disturbance of heart rhythm
- Pain that starts in the spine and spreads in the direction of the lower limbs
- Weakness and numbness of limbs
- Painful swelling of the eyelids and surrounding tissues
It is a late dissemination stage. It can develop within a few months after a tick bite. The most characteristic symptoms are:
- Arthritis - with damage to large-caliber joints, mainly knees. Pain, swelling, tightness is sometimes constant, or worsens periodically.
- Acrodermatitis – the skin on the back of the ankles and feet is pale and swollen. It may also develop in the area of elbows and knees.
Despite the treatment, in some cases complications develop, such as:
- Arthritis that persists after treatment
- Pain and discomfort in the body
- Weakness and fatigue
- memory problems
These complaints are associated with the post-treatment syndrome of Lyme disease, the causes of which are:
- Incomplete course of treatment
- Reinfection with borreliosis
- Immune system reaction
- Autoimmune reaction developed against the background of bacterial process
- Other concomitant diseases
The diagnostics of borreliosis is based on clinical anamnestic data, the probability of a tick bite, differential diagnostics with other diseases and, most importantly, the results of laboratory studies.
When Lyme disease is suspected, a two-step test for Borrelia antibodies is recommended. If the answer to the first study is negative, there is no need for further study. If the data of the first study are positive or ambiguous, it is recommended to repeat the studies.
Laboratory diagnostics is based on the detection of antibodies against Borrelia. The development of antibodies occurs at a relatively late stage of the disease, so the data may be negative at the initial stage of clinical manifestations. Antibodies remain in the blood months and years after exposure to the disease, so quantification is not useful to determine the stage of the disease or the effectiveness of treatment. As a rule, research of IgM and IgG antibodies is carried out.
Treatment of the disease includes antibiotic therapy and appropriate symptomatic treatment of existing disorders or complications.
Being in nature increases the possibility of contact with ticks. The best way to prevent Lyme disease is to protect yourself from tick bites: walking in open areas with closed clothing; After being in nature, checking skin and clothes, etc.
When to consult a doctor
As a rule, the tick bite episode is often overlooked. After the development of symptoms, they are usually associated with various pathologies. As soon as the early symptoms of the disease are detected, it is important to visit a doctor, conduct laboratory research and start treatment.
Synevo offers diagnostic laboratory tests for borreliosis:
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