Lyme Disease is the most commonly reported vectorborne disease in the United States


 Rarely carries Lymes  Culprit that transmits Lyme Disease

 Common or Dog Tick - This tick is not thought to carry lyme disease. However, since dogs regularly contract the disease, this information may prove to be false.


 Deer Tick aka Black Leg Tick - This is the carrier of lymes. The disease resides in mice, rats, deer and marine birds and can be carried to humans from the bite of this tick.



How is Lyme disease transmitted?
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection which is transmitted primarily through the bite of ticks which have become infected from some other mammal or marine birds. This is usually the Black Leg tick (also known as the Deer Tick). It is becoming more and more obvious as time goes on, that there must be other vectors of transmission besides ticks. It is not thought to be transmitted by the common dog tick, although the fact that dogs regularly get the disease is an indication that this may prove to be a false assumption. There is also evidence evolving that transmission from person to person through the bites of mosquitoes, fleas and biting flies may also occur. Not all deer ticks are infected with the bacteria that cause the disease. Ticks will become infected if they feed on animals that are infected. The disease can be spread when a tick infected with the bacteria bites a person and stays attached for a period of time. In most cases, the tick must be attached for 48 hours or more before the bacteria can be transmitted. The number of cases of Lymes is growing at a rate which tells science that there must be paths of infection other than the deer tick. The following graph from a county in New Jersey shows this to be so.


Lyme Disease in NJ
It is certain that the deer population in New Jersey did not grow at this rate over this period of time!






Lyme Disease is a serious and growing health problem in the United States.


Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection caused by a spirochete form of bacterium known as Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria is very similar to the bacterium which causes the dread disease syphilis. Nobody talks about this, but the disease resembles syphilis both in its etiology and its pathology. The bacteria is termed "spirochete" due to it's spiral or spring-like shape. It is a highly motile bacteria which travels through the tissues and organs by contracting lengthwise and then springing forward. You can easily see how this could be so by looking at the shape of the bacteria in this picture:



 Lyme Disease Bacterium


 Borrelia burgdorferi


The bacteria causes physical damage by this burrowing motion, as well as biochemical changes to the tissues, before lodging in various organs and joints where it can cause a number of symptoms. The most common are Arthritis-like symptoms and Nerve degeneration symptoms when the bacteria lodges in the spine or brain (CNS). It is these nervous system complications which are the most serious and the most difficult to treat. Migraines, dizziness, poor coordination and blindness are some of the results of CNS involvement with Lyme disease. (and of course death - another of the symptoms not too many doctors like to mention) The body has a protective blood-brain barrier which few antibiotics can cross, and the body must rely on its own immune system in large part to address these CNS sites of infection. Otherwise, the brain and spinal column become reservoirs of the bacteria, from where they re-infect the body after each round of antibiotic treatment. It is VERY IMPORTANT to get early antibiotic treatment with this disease. Once the disease is well established, it is impossible to ever become the same person you were.




The treatment of Lyme disease is with antibiotics, such as Keflex, doxycycline or amoxicillin. As far as Lyme's Arthritis, People who have a particular HLA molecule which matches the OspA outer surface protein are prone to an autoimmune arthritis (molecular mimicry) which does not remit after antibiotic treatment (Science 281: 703, 1998). This is a serious complication with Lymes, as even though the disease is cured, and no more bacteria are present in the body, you are still left with a serious arthritis. That is one of the reasons that early treatment is so important to deal with the disease before the damage occurs.

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