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LymeHandoutInsideA5 Final

LymeHandoutInsideA5 Final

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Published by Peter Kemp

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Published by: Peter Kemp on Mar 25, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease, more properly known as Lyme borreliosis, is a bacterialinfection which if not treated early and effectively can cause seriousincapacitating illness. It is spread by the bite of tiny ticks and isbiologically related to syphilis. Like syphilis it can affect virtually everyorgan and system of the body. A Lyme-infected tick can attach itself you as you walk through longgrass or even in your back garden. Known hotspots include the NewForest, Scottish Highlands, Norfolk and Yorkshire. People have evencaught Lyme disease in London parks.Lyme disease symptoms are wide-ranging and changeable. Theyinclude total-body weakness and fatigue, migrating muscle and jointpains, headaches, loss of memory, rashes, clouded thinking, vision andhearing problems, sensitivity to noise or light, heart block, stroke-likesymptoms, paralysis and even psychosis.It is easy to miss the often painless bite of a tick which can be as tiny asa full stop.The smallest ticks are nobigger than a full-stop – yettheir bite can transmit Lymedisease and many otherbacteria and viruses.Symptoms may not appear for weeks or months. The red 'bullseye' rashthat sometimes appears may occur in only 50% of cases and even thencan be irregular or so faint that it goes unnoticed. The first sign of infection may be symptoms that resembles the flu. If left undiagnosedand untreated, the illness can be severe and chronic, leading to long-term or permanent disability.
Lyme disease is a clinical diagnosis.
This means that it is always up to a doctor to decide whether theyconsider a patient requires treatment. Laboratory tests for Lymedisease are not reliable enough to rule-out infection with Lyme disease.If doctors are not alert to and aware of the often vague symptoms of Lyme disease, they may not even consider it as a possible diagnosis.When doctors do order tests that turn out negative, they may notappreciate the unreliability of the tests. So they may not treat thepatient even if symptoms and risk factors indicate infection. Yet even if doctors do treat a patient for borrelia infection, the NHSrecommended treatment can be too short to eradicate the bacteria.Borrelia are known to have adapted to evade the body’s own immunesystem can survive antibiotics.This is why we want more awareness of Lyme disease and improvedtesting. The UK should not rely on tests developed for the USA. Wewant tests that can detect UK and European strains of borrelia at allstages of infection. We want tests that can directly detect the bacteriainstead of relying on detecting antibodies and tests that can confirmthe success or failure of a treatments.The ticks that carry Lyme disease are found in every county of theUnited Kingdom. The spirochete bacteria can cause severe illness if unrecognized and untreated. The very varied symptoms can includeany of:
Fatigue, malaise
Muscle, joint pain
Headache, stiff neck
Swollen lymphglands
Flu-like symptoms
Balance problems
Vision and hearingproblems
Fever, infections
Heart symptoms
Brain fog, memoryloss
Paralysis, numbness,tingling
Digestion problems,nausea
Skin rashes
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