National organization dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and control of lyme disease and other tick-borne infections. The foundation supports critical scientific research and plays a key role in providing reliable and scientifically accurate information about tick-borne diseases.
Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness in the United States, affecting an estimated fifteen thousand Americans each year. Common symptoms usually include joint pain and fatigue. Untreated, Lyme disease can eventually involve the central nervous system and cause deficits in attention, memory, speed of processing, and executive function. Treatment of Lyme disease with antibiotics in the early acute phase usually results in symptom remission and cure. However, if the tick-borne spirochete enters the bloodstream and disseminates in other organ systems, intravenous antibiotics are usually necessary for definitive treatment. In exceedingly rare cases, the disease can result in persisting cognitive symptoms. When this happens,
Doctors usually diagnose the condition by excluding other illnesses with similar symptoms. As yet, there is no indicator or diagnostic test that can clearly identify the disorder. Overlapping symptoms can occur with several diseases, such as fibromyalgia, Gulf War illnesses, and multiple chemical sensitivities. Lupus, hypothyroidism, and Lyme disease also have similar symptoms and will need to be ruled out when making a diagnosis.
Anthropogenic or natural effects on the environment also contribute to the emergence and re-emergence of infectious diseases. The effects range from global warming and the consequent extension of vector-borne diseases, to ecological changes due to deforestation that increase contact between humans and animals, and also the possibility that microorganisms will breach the species barrier. These changes have occurred on almost every continent. They are exemplified by zoonotic diseases such as Lassa fever first identified in West Africa in 1969 and now known to be transmitted to humans from human food supplies contaminated with the urine of rats that were in search of food, as their natural habitat could no longer support their needs. In Latin America, Chagas disease emerged as an important human disease after mismanagement of deforested land caused triatomine populations to move from their wild natural hosts to involve human beings and domestic animals in the transmission cycle,...
West Nile encephalitis must be differentiated from other causes of enchepalopathy such as subacute bacterial endocarditis, infectious mononucleosis, Legionnaires' disease, Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF), and herpesvirus infections. While the clinician can differentiate between these etiological agents using laboratory tests, conducting a thorough patient history can eliminate many. Elderly patients are at very low risk for contracting Epstein-Barr virus infectious mononucleosis. Patients who have neither traveled to endemic areas for Lyme disease and RMSF nor have had significant tick exposure are at low risk for contracting these bacterial agents. Additionally, routine blood cultures can assist in assessing bacterial endocarditis provided empiric antibiotic therapy has not been initiated prior to collecting the blood cultures.
An infection causing a rash similar to that produced by lyme disease affecting residents in southeastern and south central United States. Southern tick-associated rash illness (STARI) is associated with the bite of the lone star tick (Amblyomma americanum). These ticks are found through the southeast and south central states. Even though spirochetes have been seen in A. americanum ticks, attempts to culture them in the laboratory have consistently failed. However, a spirochete has been detected in A. americanum by DNA analysis and was given the name Borrelia lonestari.
Babesiosis (babesiasis) A rare, sometimes fatal disease caused by a tick-borne virus similar to both lyme disease and human granulocytic ehrlichiosis (HGE). Also known as Nantucket fever, it is most often seen in the elderly and those with impaired immune systems. Severe cases have been diagnosed in those who have had their spleen removed.
Example - complete sample - reinfection with Lyme borreliosis Bennet and Berglund (2002) studied all patients diagnosed with erythema migrans (EM) following vector-borne infection by Lyme borreliosis (LB) some 10 years earlier. They contacted all these patients and asked if they had had any new tick bites over the period May 1993 to May 1998. From the 976 infected and eligible for the study, 708 participants replied and from these a reinfection rate of 4 was computed.