Lyme Disease Awareness
River Region Pest Control promotes awareness and prevention as part of our overall efforts to help reduce the incidence of Lyme Disease in central Alabama.
Lyme disease is caused by spirochete, a type of bacteria.
In the U.S., the disease is caused by one type of bacterium, but in Europe, there are a few bacteria that can spread Lyme disease.
Most often, people are infected from tick bites.
History and Origin
Lyme disease only came to the attention of the medical community in 1975, which is considered rather late since many people had suffered from the disease in the previous years.
It was discovered in Lyme, Connecticut, which is where the disease receives its name.
One of the problems with diagnosing Lyme disease is that it is very similar to rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, many children in Lyme were being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
Researchers began looking into the unusually large number of children with this disease, and they later realized that a bacterial infection was being misdiagnosed.
Lyme disease is very common in the northeastern part of the U.S., although cases have been reported in all 50 states.
Lyme disease has also been reported in Europe, Japan, China, Australia, and parts of Russia.
How it Spreads
Lyme disease is spread by ticks that can be often found on deer, dogs, and other animals.
These ticks contain the bacterium that spread Lyme disease in their stomachs. When the tick bites a person, that bacterium enters the body.
Lyme disease cannot be passed from person to person.
The more ticks in an area, the larger the number of Lyme disease cases there are likely to be. For example, in parts of New York, more than half of all ticks in the area are carriers.
One of the first symptoms of Lyme disease is the red rash that occurs around the area where the tick bite occurred.
This rash can appear anywhere from a few days to a few weeks after the bite. The rash will expand while symptoms similar to the flu begin to occur.
As the disease goes on, the patient may begin to experience abnormal heart, joint, and nervous system symptoms.
Lyme disease can be categorized in three stages:
- The first stage features mild symptoms, including the rash.
- The second stage can lead to meningitis, heart issues, and nervous system problems.
- The third state is categorized by brain inflammation, nerve damage, and arthritis.
Lyme disease can be visually diagnosed by the rash, but a doctor often does a blood test to confirm the diagnoses.
Those with first stage Lyme disease usually only need to take a round of antibiotics to combat the bacteria. In later states, while antibiotics will kill the bacteria, the symptoms must also be dealt with.
Pain medications can help with any inflammation or pain, while taking over the counter arthritis medications may help with any joint stiffness.
The best way to prevent getting Lyme disease is to avoid heavily wooded areas where ticks often live.
After being outdoors, a person should check their entire body for ticks, paying careful attention to their waist, their arms, and the area covered by the tops of their socks.
Wearing long sleeves and long pants can help prevent ticks from getting to the skin.