Lyme Disease Awareness- Learn All About Lyme Disease


Lyme disease is quite rampant, and it’s important to know about the disease. There are several speculations about the cause, symptoms, lethality, and cures for Lyme disease, and this post is here to give you the plain facts.

What Is Lyme Disease and How Does it Spread?

Lyme Disease, also known as borreliosis, is an insect-transmitted illness that is bacterial in nature. This disease is caused by a genus of bacteria called Borrelia. There are two species capable of causing this disease, Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii. Of these two species, Borrelia burgdorferi is the most common cause, while cases caused by Borrelia mayonii are rarely seen.

How Does It Spread?

The insects responsible for carrying the Borrelia species are the black-legged ticks, also known as, deer ticks. These insects obtain the Borrelia pathogens from infected animals, usually rodents, through feeding on their blood. They then transmit the disease to humans through bites and deposit the bacterium into the human bloodstream. 

There are two types of black-legged ticks that transmit Lyme disease: Ixodes Scapularis and Ixodes Pacificus. Ixodes Scapularis is commonly known as the deer tick and it’s rampant in certain parts of the United States such as the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and North-central. 

The other species of black-legged tick, Ixodes pacificus, is commonly found on the Pacific coast. 

If left untreated, the Borrelia bacteria develop in the body and different symptoms begin to manifest. These symptoms progress in stages, and each stage tends to be more serious than the last.

More About Black-legged Ticks

These ticks live for about three years, during which they are active carriers of the Borrelia bacterium. The bacteria can exist in all stages of their life cycle from the larval, nymph, to adults. When a tick hatches from the egg, it enters the larva stage and needs food (blood) to mature and survive. 

The black-legged ticks aren’t born with the bacteria, instead, they get it from animals through blood feeding. The disease then incubates in them all through their life cycle, until they find a suitable host. 

These ticks are called deer ticks because deer are a common source of nutrition for them and they also play a crucial role in spreading them around the country. It is important to note that deers are not affected by the bacteria, making them a suitable carrier for ticks and bacteria.

Humans usually contract this disease when bitten by a tick infected with Borrelia, and it’s left for up to 24 hours. It has been noted that the tick needs up to 24 hours of contact with human blood before the bacterium can be transmitted. This is why ticks in the nymph stages are more common causes of the disease.

Ticks in the nymph stage are much smaller and rampant, they are harder to notice on the skin and are always looking for a host. It is much easier for a nymph to remain attached to your skin unnoticed than a much larger adult tick. 

Identifying Symptoms of Lyme Disease

For clarity, the symptoms of Lyme disease are normally grouped into three stages. However, these symptoms don’t always appear strictly in this order, they can overlap or some stages remain noticed until much later. 

  • Early Localized stage.
  • Early Disseminated stage.
  • Late Disseminated stage.

Early Stage ( Localized and Disseminated)

The early stage usually overlaps the localized and disseminated stages, and it occurs within 3 to 30 days after the initial bite. This stage is commonly characterized by the appearance of a rash after 2 to 3 days. This rash is called Erythema Migrans, or bull’s-eye rash. 

The rash is small when it first appears and gradually increases in size with time; it can reach up to 11 inches. 

The presence of the rash is normally accompanied by headache, fatigue, muscle aches, sore throat, and swelling of the lymph nodes.

Later Stage (Disseminated) 

This stage occurs within days and months after the bite, and things start to get very serious. The pathogens or bacteria are well disseminated in the body. This stage is characterized by:

  • Stiffness of the neck and headaches.
  • Appearance of erythema migraine rashes on other parts of the body.
  • Drooping of facial muscle (facial palsy).
  • Swelling of joints, and pain.
  • Muscle, joint, and bone pains.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Spinal and cranial inflammations.
  • Sleeping spells and difficulty breathing.

If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, we advise you to see your medical practitioner immediately. It is best to go when the disease is still in the early stages because it is easier to handle. You are also more likely to be infected if you’ve been outdoors or in bushy areas with a high potential of having ticks.

These symptoms don’t always point to Lyme disease as other illnesses can cause some of these signs to manifest.

Potential Risks of Contraction 

You’re more exposed to the risk of Lyme disease if you stay in particular areas in the United States such as the Northeastern region, mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and Pacific region. 

You’re also at risk if you’re surrounded by woods, bushes, and grasses. Generally, these ticks live in undergrowth and deer-infested regions. They are also common during spring, summer, and fall. 

How To Prevent Lyme Disease

The primary source of Lyme disease is deer ticks. You can prevent or reduce the risk of contraction by avoiding bites from these ticks. We recommend wearing protective or well-covering clothes when venturing into the woods or areas where ticks are likely to be. 

We also recommend regular inspection of the body after spending time outdoors. You can greatly reduce the risk of contracting the disease even after getting bitten; it takes 24 hours for the tick to transmit the disease into the bloodstream. Removing the ticks before the end of 24 hours can prevent transmission. 

Wrap Up

Lyme disease is not dangerous with a sufficient amount of awareness, and it is very avoidable It is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia, and is transmitted by black-legged ticks ( Ixodes species). Above are symptoms, mode of transmission, and preventive tips.