At the request of a few site members to put information about Lyme/Borreliosis on the forum here goes. It is going to be in some detail so you can follow the development of the disease so you don't end up with a chronic infection.
Ticks have a 3 host life cycle. This means that each stage of their life they must have a blood meal. If that host is carrying an infection it infects the tick for the rest of its life, evan going through the egg stage. You can have all 3 different stags on the same host although he Larvae and a lesser extent Nymphs feed on smaller animals. After each blood meal they drop off the host and develop to the next stage. Normally a 3 year cycle. In the life cycle you have a spring and autumn rise in tick activity although on the Scottish West coast they are active throughout the year. So you have spring cycling and autumn cycling ticks.
The bacteria causing the disease are
Borrelia burgdoferi (Bb) ................. Mainly arthritis
Borrelia garinii (Bg)........................ Mainly nervous complaints
Borrelia afzelii (Ba)....................... Mainly skin complaints
but there is considerable overlap
This infection can be passed on from an infected tick biting you. Tick saliva is anaesthetic, anticoagulant and a recently discovered protein called Salp15 which at the time of the bite coats the bacteria as it passes into your system. This enables it to evade the immune system until the infection is well established and means there is a slow build up of antibodies. NOTE THIS
In the tick the Borrelia are attached to the gut and the blood releases them and they move to the salivary glands. (The tick moves from ground temperature to blood heat.) At the same time they change their coat (OSP A to OSP C) This is the reason the tick has to be attached for more than 36 hours although some research suggests can be passed on sooner. Also through the infection the bacteria is changing its coat so that the immune system is playing catch up the whole time.
Clinical Signs and Symptoms
All diagnoses start of by talking of Erythema Migrans (EM). This is a circle of redness radiating out from the tick bite at a rate of 2/5 mms a day from 7-42 days aftrerwards. This is non painful and isn't raised Tis occurs in less than 30% of patients, If a tick bites and there is an immediate swelling/redness which disappears in a day or 2 NORMAL Bacterial infection Not LYME
EM photos courtesy Smith Kline Biologicals
Other symptoms are flu like ,stiff neck ,swollen glands ,extreme fatigue, intermittent temperature muscle and joint pains, eye dysfunction.
Consultation with GP. Now the fun ? starts. Don't have a clue as they do not have lectures on Zoonosis at University. Unfortunately the guidelines given by te HPA are those of the CDC American protocol and are useless for this country as they only have Bb Take a blood sample for Laboratory diagnosis This is too soon as immune system hasn't reacted yet Negative.... NO LYME .... Wrong May have given you short course of antibiotics for rash depresses immune system as well .. Negative .WRONG
In some cases may give a positive result on first test go on for second if you are lucky this is called a Western Blot ( immunoblot ) The lab staff then interpret the bands as positive or negative.
Each lab has their own protocol and it seems hit or miss. They tried to formulate a European Standard for the labs but it was unsuccessful.
The Scottish Refernce lab at Raigmore Hospital Inverness have grown 2 out of 3 local bacterial Bb, Ba types and are using a mixture for testing with improved results.
GPs must diagnose on clinical grounds with may be lab confirmation.
The guidelines also suggest a short course of antibiotics as sufficient. Unfortunately they should be high dosage and last a minimum of 3-4 weeks or until you respond. Anyone needing more info pm me.