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Lyme disease

The meaning of «lyme disease»

Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, is a vector-borne disease caused by the Borrelia bacterium which is spread by ticks in the genus Ixodes.[2][5][6] The most common sign of infection is an expanding red rash, known as erythema migrans, that appears at the site of the tick bite about a week after it occurred.[1] The rash is typically neither itchy nor painful.[1] Approximately 70–80% of infected people develop a rash.[1] Other early symptoms may include fever, headache and tiredness.[1] If untreated, symptoms may include loss of the ability to move one or both sides of the face, joint pains, severe headaches with neck stiffness, or heart palpitations, among others.[1] Months to years later, repeated episodes of joint pain and swelling may occur.[1] Occasionally, people develop shooting pains or tingling in their arms and legs.[1] Despite appropriate treatment, about 10 to 20% of people develop joint pains, memory problems, and tiredness for at least six months.[1][7]

Lyme disease is transmitted to humans by the bites of infected ticks of the genus Ixodes.[8] In the United States, ticks of concern are usually of the Ixodes scapularis type, and must be attached for at least 36 hours before the bacteria can spread.[9][10] In Europe, Ixodes ricinus ticks may spread the bacteria more quickly.[10][11] In North America, the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, B. bissettiae, and B. mayonii cause Lyme disease.[2][12][6] In Europe and Asia, Borrelia afzelii, Borrelia garinii, B. spielmanii, and 4 other species also cause of the disease.[2] The disease does not appear to be transmissible between people, by other animals, or through food.[9] Diagnosis is based upon a combination of symptoms, history of tick exposure, and possibly testing for specific antibodies in the blood.[3][13] Blood tests are often negative in the early stages of the disease.[2] Testing of individual ticks is not typically useful.[14]

Prevention includes efforts to prevent tick bites by wearing clothing to cover the arms and legs, and using DEET or picaridin-based insect repellents.[2][5] Using pesticides to reduce tick numbers may also be effective.[2] Ticks can be removed using tweezers.[15] If the removed tick was full of blood, a single dose of doxycycline may be used to prevent development of infection, but is not generally recommended since development of infection is rare.[2] If an infection develops, a number of antibiotics are effective, including doxycycline, amoxicillin, and cefuroxime.[2] Standard treatment usually lasts for two or three weeks.[2] Some people develop a fever and muscle and joint pains from treatment which may last for one or two days.[2] In those who develop persistent symptoms, long-term antibiotic therapy has not been found to be useful.[2][16]

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