Borrelia burgdorferi is a type of bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Certain ticks carry this bacterium, which the ticks transmit to their hosts by biting them. Typically, small animals like mice, squirrels, chipmunks, shrews, etc. carry the bacterium. Humans who have Lyme disease can experience a variety of symptoms, from rashes and flu-like symptoms to more severe ones like rheumatic, cardiac, and neurological complications. If caught early enough, it is frequently treatable and successful. People who work outdoors should be concerned about Lyme disease. Anyone who spends time outside faces danger. The most prevalent ""vector borne"" illness in the US is Lyme disease. Any insect or arthropod that harbors and spreads a disease infection is referred to be a vector (virus, bacteria, etc.).
How is the Lyme illness spread?
Ticks typically reside in wooded areas or tall grasses in North America, Europe, and Asia. By eating on diseased wild animals, ticks can contract Borrelia burgdorferi, which they can subsequently disseminate to humans by ingesting their blood. Because ticks are unable to fly, they typically hang from small plants or tall grasses and are located close to the ground. The ticks wait for an animal or person to move in close proximity before attaching to the skin and beginning to feed. Ixodes scapularis, sometimes known as the deer tick, and the blacklegged tick are the two tick species that spread Lyme disease most commonly in North America. Ixodes pacificus, a species of western blacklegged tick. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), there is no proof that Lyme disease can be transmitted from person to person. Dogs in particular can contract Lyme disease, but there is no proof that they can pass the virus on to people. However, they might bring infected ticks into the house or yard, raising the risk of transmission.
What Lyme disease symptoms and indications are present?
Most people are unaware they have been bitten by a tick since tick bites are typically painless. The signs and symptoms of Lyme disease can show anywhere between three and thirty days after a person has been bitten. Symptoms like as fatigue are common. chills or a fever. Headache. joint and muscle ache lymph nodes with swelling. a skin rash An expanding rash, also known as an erythema migrans (EM) rash and commonly called a ""bull's eye"" rash because it may include rings radiating from the bite site, might be an indication of infection. It is significant to remember that not all cases of Lyme disease infection result in rashes, and that some rashes may not have a bull's eye. According to the PHAC, if untreated, more severe symptoms may develop and linger for months or even years. Severe signs could include: bad headaches Further EM skin rashes. neurological conditions (dizziness, mental confusion or inability to think clearly, memory loss, inflammation of the brain and spinal cord, nerve pain, numbness or tingling in the hands or feet) diseases of the nervous system, such as facial paralysis or Bell's palsy (loss of muscle tone or droop on one or both sides of the face). Muscle, joint, tendon, and bone aches that come and go arthritis that causes excruciating joint pain and swelling, especially in the knees but less frequently in the ankle, elbow, and wrist joints. A condition known as late disseminated Lyme disease may develop if left untreated. Recurrent arthritis (muscle and joint pain), neurological issues, and/or nervous system issues are among the symptoms listed by PHAC. Additionally, numbness and/or paralysis are possible symptoms (unable to move parts of the body). Although uncommon, Lyme disease-related deaths can happen. Lyme disease can be challenging to identify and has occasionally been mistaken for other illnesses. If someone thinks they might have Lyme disease, it's crucial for them to speak with their doctor. PHAC offers additional details on Lyme disease.
Is Lyme illness treatable?
Most of the time, sure. Lyme disease can be successfully treated with antibiotics, especially when therapy is initiated early. However, cases that develop into advanced stages of the illness can be challenging to cure and some symptoms may linger. Infection is typically avoided by removing the tick within 24-36 hours, according to PHAC.
How can I tell if a tick bit me?
Many persons who get the illness have no recollection of ever seeing or been bitten by a tick. In North America, tick bites are most common from May to September, while blacklegged ticks can be active throughout the entire year. Ticks can occasionally travel around on the body, but most of the time they cling to the skin and remain in one spot. Ticks resemble little brown freckles or scabs prior to eating. Ticks may expand significantly after eating and become the size of a raisin or a tiny grape. Follow the link for more information about blacklegged (deer) ticks (including photographs) from the Government of Canada.
Are some locations more at risk than others?
Yes and no. There are areas in which the bacteria is endemic meaning the disease is established and present more or less continually in that community. In Canada, blacklegged tick populations have been confirmed or are growing in the following areas: Southern British Columbia. Southeastern and south-central Manitoba. Southern, eastern, and northwestern Ontario. Southern Quebec. Southern New Brunswick and Grand Manan Island. South shore and northern mainland Nova Scotia. However, it is important to note that ticks (including those that are infected with the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria) can be spread by birds, in particular songbirds that feed off the forest floor. Because these birds are migratory, there is the potential for new populations of the bacteria to spread across the country. This fact means that you do not have to be in an endemic or high-risk area to be at risk of contacting ticks and the disease.
What tests are available for Lyme disease?
When a person becomes infected, the body creates antibodies to protect itself from the bacteria. Certain blood tests are available to measure these antibodies. However, sometimes a """"false negative"""" test can result if there are not enough antibodies in the blood for the tests to detect accurately. A doctor should also do a complete medical examination and gather information about your recent outdoor activities in order to make a clinical diagnosis for Lyme disease.
Who is at risk?
Many occupations may be at risk, including forestry, farming, veterinarians, construction, landscaping, ground keepers, park or wildlife management, and anyone who either works outside or has contact with animals that may carry ticks (including domestic animals like dogs, cats, goats, cows, horses, etc.) Similarly, any person who spends a lot time outdoors (hiking, camping, birding, golfing, hunting, fishing, etc.), especially in grassy or wooded areas may also be at risk.
How can Lyme disease be prevented?
In areas where ticks are found, people should know about the risk of Lyme disease and should take precautions to protect themselves. Be aware of the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease so it can be detected and treated promptly. PHAC states that removing ticks within 24 to 36 hours after the tick bite usually prevents infection. Find out from your local public health office if there are ticks in your area, especially Ixodes ticks. Wear protective clothing to prevent ticks from attaching to your skin. Wear closed toed shoes with a long-sleeved shirt and pants. Your shirt should fit tightly around the wrists and be tucked into your pants, with your socks pulled over your pant legs. Use insect repellents containing DEET or Icaridin to repel ticks. Apply to both clothes and skin. Always read the label and follow instructions for use. If possible, avoid contact with low bushes and long grasses. For example, if hiking or walking, walk in the centre of the trail. Wear light coloured clothing to help you to find the ticks more easily. Check for ticks on and under clothing, especially after being in areas where ticks may live. Inspecting your skin daily greatly reduces the risk of infection as ticks may take several hours to two days to attach to the skin and feed. Do a whole-body check, including armpits, in and around hair, navel, groin, and behind the ears and knees. Also check children and pets, as well as outdoor gear you may bring into the house. Wash clothes promptly and put them in the dryer with heat to help kill any ticks that may remain. Shower or bathe within two hours of being outdoors to wash away loose ticks. Carefully remove ticks found attached to the skin. Use clean, needle-nose tweezers to grasp head and mouth parts of the tick as close to the skin as possible. Pull straight out slowly to remove the whole tick. Try not to squash, twist, or crush the tick since this can help bacteria to get into the body. If the mouthparts of the tick break off or do not come out, PHAC recommends to remove them with tweezers or, if you are unable to remove them easily, leave alone to let the skin heal and consult your healthcare provider. Wash affected area and your hands with soap and water or disinfect with alcohol hand sanitizer after removing the tick. Keep the tick for testing by placing it in a small sealed container or double zip lock bags. Write the date on the container or bag. Bring the tick to your doctor if you experience or if think you might be having symptoms. To kill the tick, place them in rubbing alcohol or freeze for a few hours. Do not try to squash with your bare fingers. Contact your public health office for details on the tick identification and any testing program that might be available in your area and how to submit a tick for testing. Know the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease. Contact a doctor immediately if you have an illness that resembles Lyme disease. If you were able to save the tick, bring it to your medical appointment as it may help the doctor. PHAC has also prepared a Lyme disease tool kit which provides material to raise awareness and educate.
What can a workplace or home do to reduce the presence of ticks?
Keep the lawn and yard well maintained to prevent ticks from living near the home or workplace. Keep the grass mowed. Trim trees and shrubs. Remove leaf litter, brush, and weeds at the edge of the lawn, and around stonewalls and woodpiles. Clean up and seal stonewalls and small openings around the home to help discourage rodents. Keep stacked firewood piles and bird feeders away from buildings. Keep any pets, particularly dogs, out of the woods and talk to your veterinarian about tick repellents for your pets. Move children's swing sets and sandboxes away from the woodland's edge and use a woodchip or mulch foundation. Consider using hard landscape items such as woodchips, mulch, stones, gravel, tile, or metals. Create a border or barrier between the lawn, woods, or stonewalls to discourage deer and rodent activity. Widen woodland trails. Consider a least-toxic pesticide application as a targeted barrier treatment."""