Lyme Disease- What Is It?

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease, caused by one or more strains of Borrelia bacteria, is most often transmitted to animals and humans by the bite of an infected tick.  In January 2014, a study by a team of international scientists determined it was possible to sexually transmit Lyme disease from person to person.  Congenital Lyme (mother to baby) has also been documented over the years.  

Current tests and testing methods for Lyme disease has been proven to miss up to 75% of people infected. Additionally, blood tests are only capable of detecting the body's response to one strain of Borrelia (burgdorferi).  Over 300 strains of Borrelia have been reported to date.  

Important- Treat the patient not the test!  

The sooner treatment is initiated the better! 

Lyme Disease Spirochetes

The Lyme disease bacterium (spirochete) can migrate from the point of infection within hours, spreading to many parts of the body and producing mild to severe symptoms.  Some patients may experience no symptoms at first, some may have an array of mild to strong varying symptoms.  Unlike in colder climates, Florida residents are at risk of coming in contact with infected ticks year round.

The Lyme disease rash (EM), which occurs in less than 10 percent of children, and less than 20% of adults may gradually expand around the bite site over a period of several days.  A rash indicates you have Lyme disease and should be treated immediately.

The center of the rash, if you get one, may clear as the spirochetes disperse, or it may remain solid red to purplish in color until it disappears on its own, treated or not. The rash may be warm to touch and slightly itchy, but is not usually painful.  Some patients develop multiple rashes on various parts of their body.  In dark skinned individuals the rash may appear more like a bruise.  

Patients with Lyme disease may experience fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle aches, joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes.  They may have no obvious symptoms as the disease disseminates through the tissues, or while the spirochetes hide in protected niches in the body (bladder, brain, joints, tendons, eyes, etc.).  Symptoms can come and go and change from day to day. 

Symptoms of Lyme disease may not be noticeable or pronounced, however, the hidden infection can suddenly produce symptoms years after a person has been infected, especially during times of stress, such as after child birth, after an auto accident, after the death of a loved one or if a person is experiencing other illnesses or stressors.

In Florida especially, Lyme disease is often misdiagnosed as other maladies or syndromes (see articles below).  When tests are negative and symptoms vary, doctors sometimes consider the patient has no physical illness at all.  They may assume the patient developed an "all in the head" syndrome.  This is sometimes referred to as MUS (multiple unexplained symptoms) or your symptoms are said to be caused by a number of various mental illnesses.  When this occurs the disease organism is left to progress unchecked and can result in chronic illness, disability and even death. 

Summary- Things to Remember

1.)  Lyme disease can affect anyone at any age who is exposed to ticks, various insects and other infected humans.

2.)  Test currently on the market and favored by insurance companies are unreliable and should be removed from the market.  A negative test can not rule out Lyme disease, however, it is being used by insurers to deny treatment when negative.

3.)  Current treatment protocols, again, preferred by insurers due to the low cost are inadequate to cure Lyme disease in all but a few early cases.  There are no tests to determine a cure has been reached and testing after treatment can be highly unreliable.

4.)  Inadequate treatment can lead to ongoing illness, chronic symptoms, future misdiagnosis, additional late severe symptoms affecting all parts of the body, disability and death.

5.)  If you are told to "wait and see" if you get a rash or if symptoms appear after being bitten by a tick, either insist on being treated or find another doctor and get treated immediately.  See- for additional information.


It's Lyme Time You Knew!

When to Suspect Lyme Disease

Advanced Topics in Lyme Disease