This bacterial infection was first recognized in 1975, as the result of a research that should determine why many children in Lyme, Conn were diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.That research found that many of these children lived near woods and that symptoms usually started in the early summer. Many of the patients reported that they were bitten by a tick and they had a rash around the bite site. The conclusion was that a small deer tick, carrying spiral-shaped bacterium is responsible for symptoms.
The symptoms of Lyme disease are stiff neck, fever, chills, fatigue, headache, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches and joint pain. At first, they are almost identical to flu symptoms. But, in some cases a person may develop a rash around the tick bite place. If this disease advance, arthritis (especially in the knees) and nerve problems may occur. It is very difficult to detect Lyme disease. Many symptoms are the same as in other diseases, and many people cannot recall had they been bitten by a tick. A doctor will start looking for a bulls-eye rash. If there is no visible rash, he/she may order blood tests (ELISA and Western blot). Even with these tests, the Lyme disease bacterium is hard to detect.
Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics. If it was detected in early stage, a patient may have quick and effective recovery. Amoxicillin or doxycycline are antibiotics that a patient should take from 2 to 4 weeks. IV (intravenous antibiotics) is used for more severe cases when a patient’s nervous system is affected. Also, many of the patients are fully recovered. The best preventive is to avoid woods with infected ticks.