The Complexity of Lyme Disease

It’s tick season, an opportune time to take a look at the dreaded illness known as Lyme disease. It is important to state that not every tick bite results in Lyme disease. However, Nick Harris, Ph.D. (President of IgeneX, Inc.) indicates that Lyme would be the top infectious disease in the US and Western Europe if it were not for AIDS.

Exploring this mysterious disease …

Lyme is a spirochete known as Borrelia Burgdorferi (Bb), but the disease is more than a simple infection. It quickly escalates into a complex condition that consists of chronic co-infections, which are usually parasitic (such as Babesia and Ehrlichia). Animal studies have shown that, within a week of being infected, a victim can have this spirochete deeply embedded in tendons, muscles, the heart, and it even crosses the blood/brain barrier. Studies are showing, too, that children can be born with the disease because it crosses the placenta.

The disease can be carried by ticks, fleas, mosquitoes, and mites. The challenge with Lyme is that there is much misunderstanding about it and some difficulty with testing for it. The first test typically done is the Western Blot antibody test, which is not positive immediately after Bb exposure, and only 60 – 70 percent of people show antibodies to Bb. So Lyme disease often ends up being a clinical diagnosis. There are, however, two tests being developed that may help this situation. They are Electrodermal Screening and Darkfield Microscopy.

And what about the infamous “bulls eye” rash? Statistics show that only 30 – 40 percent of cases show this rash, and even more startling – only about 10 percent of children reveal the rash. Read our Health Tip for practical things you can do to be come more informed so that you can be proactive in protecting yourself and your family members. After all, getting Lyme disease is a great way to ruin a summer, so you need a means of self-defense!

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