This type of disease is caused by 4 main species of bacteria. The leading causes for the Lyme disease in Europe and Asia are bacteria Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii while the leading causes for Lyme disease in the United States of America are bacteria Borrelia burgodorferi and Borrelia mayonii.
In these regions, the most common tick – borne illnesses is the Lyme disease and it is transmitted by the bite of an infected black – legged tick which is commonly known as a deer tick. If you live or you spend time in grassy and heavily wooded areas where ticks are carrying the Lyme disease thrive, then you have increased chances of getting Lyme disease. This is a reason why you should take common – sense precautions in the tick – infested areas.
It is known that the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease can vary so they usually appear in stages but the stages can overlap.
- Early signs and symptoms: At the site of the tick bite or tick removal is appearing a small and red bump which is similar to the bump of a mosquito bite and it usually resolves over a few days. But this normal occurrence does not mean that you surely have Lyme disease. The following signs and symptoms can happen within a months after you have been infected:
- Rash: In a period of three to thirty days after an infected tick bite, there can be expanding red area which can appear and sometimes it is clear in the center that is forming a bull’s – eye pattern. This rash (known as erythema migrans) expands slowly in a period of few days and it can spread to 30 centimeters (12 inches) across. Usually, this is not itchy or painful and it can feel warm to the touch. This is one of the main symptoms of Lyme disease but not every single person who develops Lyme disease have rash. In some cases, people can develop this rash at more than one place on their bodies.
- Other symptoms: This rash can be accompanied by other symptoms, such as swollen lymph nodes, neck stiffness, headache, body aches, fatigue, chills and fever.
- Later signs and symptoms: If the Lyme disease is left untreated, then new signs and symptoms can appear in the following weeks to months. Here are some of the symptoms of this new stage:
- Neurological problems: It is known that weeks, months or even years after the infection, you can develop an impaired muscle movement, numbness or weakness in your limbs, temporary paralysis of one side of your face (known as Bell’s palsy) and inflammation of the membranes surrounding your brain (meningitis).
- Joint pain: The bouts of severe joint pain and swelling can affect your knees and this pain can shift from one joint to another.
- Erythema migrans: This rash can also happen on other parts of your body.
- Less common signs and symptoms: After several weeks happened after the infection, some people can develop:
- Severe fatigue
- Liver inflammation (hepatitis)
- Eye inflammation
- Heart problems, such as an irregular heartbeat
The deer ticks or black – legged ticks are carrying the four types of bacteria – Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia mayonii, Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii. The young and brown ticks often are no bigger than a poppy seed so it is hard for you to spot them. The infected deer tick must bite you so in this way you will get the Lyme disease.
The bacterium which the tick has to enter your skin through the bite and this can make its way into your bloodstream. It is known fact that in the most cases to transmit the Lyme disease, the deer tick must be attached on your body for 36 – 48 hours. If you have noticed a tick that looks swollen, then it may have fed long enough so it transmits bacteria. You should remove the ticks as soon as possible so in this way you can prevent infection.
Here are the most common risk factors for Lyme disease:
- Having exposed skin
- Spending time in wooded or grassy areas
- Not removing ticks properly or promptly
The untreated Lyme disease could lead to:
- Heart rhythm irregularities
- Cognitive defects, such as impaired memory
- Neurological symptoms, such as facial palsy and neuropathy
- Chronic joint inflammation ( which is also known as Lyme arthritis), particularly of the knee