According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Lyme disease is one of the most rapidly emerging infectious diseases in North America and Europe.
On the East coast, 50-60% of western black legged ticks are infected with species of Borrelia that cause Lyme disease.
Named after a small Connecticut town, Lyme disease is transmitted to humans by the bite of ticks infected with the bacterial spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. To make matters worse, there are several other species of Borrelia that cause Lyme disease and tick borne relapsing fever.
Initial signs and symptoms when first infected are very similar to that of the flu, leaving many cases undetected.
When initially infected, typical signs and symptoms—including fever, body aches, fatigue, headaches, nausea, and Erythema migrans (bullseye rash)—are very similar to that of the flu and can often be dismissed as such, leading to undetected infection.
If left untreated or improperly treated, Lyme disease can spread to the heart, joints, and nervous system, causing symptoms ranging from stiff neck, swollen joints, and muscle pain to heart palpitations, headaches, psychiatric symptoms (anxiety, depression, and aggression), irritable bladder, cognitive decline, insomnia, and night sweats.
Being Aware Is Crucial To Preventing Lyme disease.
Several factors must be taken into consideration to prevent Lyme disease:
- Knowing where you are most likely to pick up ticks
- How to keep your lawn and pets free of ticks
- Preventing a bite if a tick hitches a ride on you or your children
- Identifying the ticks that put you at most risk
- Removing the tick promptly and properly
- Knowing the symptoms of an infection
- Recognizing the flaws in testing and the rate of misdiagnosis.
That's a lot of information to digest! Still, being aware of all of these factors is crucial in protecting your family.