33 Facts About Lyme disease


Lyme disease, known as Lyme borreliosis, is a vector-borne disease caused by the Borrelia bacterium, which is spread by ticks in the genus Ixodes.

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Lyme disease is transmitted to humans by the bites of infected ticks of the genus Ixodes.

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Lyme disease is the most common disease spread by ticks in the Northern Hemisphere.

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Lyme disease was diagnosed as a separate condition for the first time in 1975 in Lyme, Connecticut.

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Lyme disease can affect several body systems and produce a broad range of symptoms.

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Not everyone with Lyme disease has all of the symptoms and many of the symptoms are not specific to Lyme disease but can occur with other diseases as well.

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Neurologic syndrome called Lyme disease encephalopathy is associated with subtle memory and cognitive difficulties, insomnia, a general sense of feeling unwell, and changes in personality.

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Lyme disease is caused by spirochetes, spiral bacteria from the genus Borrelia.

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The Lyme disease-related Borrelia species are collectively known as Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, and show a great deal of genetic diversity.

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Lyme disease is classified as a zoonosis, as it is transmitted to humans from a natural reservoir among small mammals and birds by ticks that feed on both sets of hosts.

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Therefore, many of the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease are a consequence of the immune response to spirochete in those tissues.

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Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, objective physical findings, history of possible exposure to infected ticks, and possibly laboratory tests.

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The bacteria that cause Lyme disease are difficult to observe directly in body tissues and difficult and too time-consuming to grow in the laboratory.

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Polymerase chain reaction tests for Lyme disease have been developed to detect the genetic material of the Lyme disease spirochete.

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Several other forms of laboratory testing for Lyme disease are available, some of which have not been adequately validated.

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Lyme disease radiculopathy affecting the limbs is often misdiagnosed as a radiculopathy caused by nerve root compression, such as sciatica.

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Lyme disease radiculopathy affecting the trunk can be misdiagnosed as myriad other conditions, such as diverticulitis and acute coronary syndrome.

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Diagnosis of late-stage Lyme disease is often complicated by a multifaceted appearance and nonspecific symptoms, prompting one reviewer to call Lyme the new "great imitator".

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Lyme disease cases fell following deer eradication on an island, Monhegan, Maine, and following deer control in Mumford Cove, Connecticut.

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Data indicates that the smaller the wooded area, the more ticks it will contain and the likely they are to carry Lyme disease, supporting the idea that deforestation and habitat fragmentation affect ticks, hosts and disease transmission.

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The recombinant vaccine against Lyme disease, based on the outer surface protein A of B burgdorferi with aluminum hydroxide as adjuvant, was developed by SmithKline Beecham.

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Canine Recombinant Lyme disease, formulated by Merial, generates antibodies against the OspA protein so a tick feeding on a vaccinated dog draws in blood full of anti-OspA antibodies, which kill the spirochetes in the tick's gut before they are transmitted to the dog.

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People with Lyme disease arthritis treated with intravenous antibiotics or two months of oral antibiotics who continue to have joint swelling two months after treatment and have negative PCR test for Borrelia DNA in the synovial fluid are said to have antibiotic-refractory Lyme disease arthritis; this is more common after infection by certain Borrelia strains in people with certain genetic and immunologic characteristics.

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In Europe, Lyme disease is caused by infection with one or more pathogenic European genospecies of the spirochaete B burgdorferi sensu lato, mainly transmitted by the tick Ixodes ricinus.

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Range of ticks able to carry Lyme disease has expanded from a limited area of Ontario to include areas of southern Quebec, Manitoba, northern Ontario, southern New Brunswick, southwest Nova Scotia and limited parts of Saskatchewan and Alberta, as well as British Columbia.

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Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in North America and Europe, and one of the fastest-growing infectious diseases in the United States.

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In Brazil, a Lyme-like disease known as Baggio–Yoshinari syndrome was identified, caused by microorganisms that do not belong to the B burgdorferi sensu lato complex and transmitted by ticks of the Amblyomma and Rhipicephalus genera.

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One study has found that prior to the reforestation that accompanied post-colonial farm abandonment in New England and the wholesale migration into the mid-west that occurred during the early 19th century, Lyme disease was present for thousands of years in America and had spread along with its tick hosts from the Northeast to the Midwest.

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When Kalm's journey was retraced 100 years later, the forests were gone and the Lyme disease bacterium had probably become isolated to a few pockets along the northeast coast, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.

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Full syndrome now known as Lyme disease was not recognized until a cluster of cases originally thought to be juvenile rheumatoid arthritis was identified in three towns in southeastern Connecticut in 1975, including the towns Lyme and Old Lyme, which gave the disease its popular name.

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The recognition that the people in the United States had EM led to the recognition that "Lyme disease arthritis" was one manifestation of the same tick-borne condition known in Europe.

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Term "chronic Lyme disease" is controversial and not recognized in the medical literature, and most medical authorities advise against long-term antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease.

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Prevention of Lyme disease is an important step in keeping dogs safe in endemic areas.

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