Lyme disease is an infection caused by the bacteria genus Borrelia sp which is transmitted through tick bites . This condition can infect and interfere with various organs of the body.
Treatment that is done as effectively and as soon as possible will guarantee a faster healing process. If left unchecked, the symptoms of Lyme disease will develop increasingly severe and prolonged.
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease has a variety of symptoms that appear gradually. The following is the distribution of symptoms of Lyme disease based on the stage or level of disease progression:
- Stage 1. Lyme stage 1 is characterized by the appearance of a rash shaped like an archery target image. This rash is a sign that bacteria multiply in blood vessels. The rash pattern that is formed generally is redness in the area of the tick bite, surrounded by normal skin areas and surrounded by reddish areas on the outside. This type of rash is known as erythema migrans . Although the migraine erythema is typical for Lyme disease, in some cases, this rash may not appear. The erythema migrant rash usually appears around 1-2 weeks after the person has been bitten by lice.
- Stage 2. Stage 2 Lyme disease usually occurs several weeks after being bitten by lice. In stage 2, the Borrelia bacteria has spread throughout the body which is characterized by flu-like symptoms. Stage 2 Lyme disease can also cause complications such as meningitis , nervous disorders, or heart disease. Symptoms that mark Lyme stage 2, include:
- Muscle ache.
- Enlarged lymph nodes.
- Sore throat.
- Visual impairment.
- Stage 3. Stage 3 Lyme disease usually occurs if the patient is not treated in stage 1 or 2. Stage 3 can occur weeks, months, or even years after tick bites. Symptoms of stage 3 Lyme disease include:
- Arthritis in one or more joints, especially large joints such as the knee.
- Numbness in the limbs and arms.
- Arrhythmia .
- Short-term memory disorders.
- Mental disorders.
- Communication is difficult.
- Severe headaches.
- Difficult to concentrate.
- Encephalopathy .
Causes of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia sp. There are four species of bacteria that can cause Lyme disease in humans, namely Borrelia burgderfori, Borrelia mayonii, Borrelia afzelii, and Borrelia garinii . Borrelia bacteria are transmitted through lice intermediaries, often through the genus Ixodes sp. Or in some cases, via the Ambylomma sp. Louse species Ixodes an infestation that has the ability to suck blood as food, either human blood or animal blood. Borrelia bacteria are usually transmitted by Ixodes ticks
Some things that can make a person more susceptible to Lyme disease include:
- Frequent activities in the grassy area. Lice carrying Lyme disease often live in grassy areas. In addition to living on deer skin, ticks carrying this disease can also live on the skin of mice and other rodents. Frequent activities in grassy areas can cause a person to be more easily infested with lice and contract Lyme disease.
- Do not clean the body from fleas. Even though it is often active in grassy areas, someone who routinely cleanses the skin from an infestation can avoid Lyme disease.
- Dressed open. Lice can easily nest on the skin. Therefore, in dressing open, someone can be more susceptible to lice and are exposed to Lyme disease.
Diagnosis of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is generally difficult to diagnose because the symptoms tend to be similar to other diseases. The easiest way to find out if a patient is suffering from this disease is through a rash examination on the skin. The doctor will ask for a history of flea bites, although many sufferers cannot remember or know this.
A physical examination and a rash check can be done for several days to ensure the presence of migraine erythema as a characteristic symptom of Lyme Disease. The erythema migrans rash can be dilated within a few days if antibiotics have not been given.
If the patient cannot remember being bitten by a flea and there is no migraine erythema , the doctor will advise the patient to undergo a blood test to confirm the diagnosis. However, keep in mind that blood tests performed on patients with early-stage Lyme disease are often less helpful because specific antibodies to the Borrelia sp bacteria have not been formed .
Specific antibodies against Borrelia sp bacteria can be detected in the blood of patients through an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay method (abbreviated as ELISA) . If the results of the Borrelia antibody test using the ELISA method are positive, patients can be recommended to undergo the Western Blot test to confirm the results of the ELISA test.
Treatment of Lyme Disease
The main treatment step for Lyme disease is antibiotics. The duration of antibiotic use generally will take around two weeks to a month. The difference in duration of antibiotic treatment in each patient depends on the severity of the infection experienced.
Patients with early-stage Lyme disease are usually given antibiotics in tablet form. Whereas patients with advanced Lyme disease can be given antibiotics in the form of injections. Giving antibiotics in the form of injections is also given if the symptoms of Lyme disease suffered involve central nervous system disorders. Early treatment of Lyme disease lasts around 14-21 days, while the advanced stage lasts around 14-28 days.
Some types of antibiotics that can be given to people with Lyme disease include:
- Tetracycline . This is the first choice antibiotic group in treating Lyme disease, especially doxycycline . But keep in mind that doxycycline should not be given to pregnant, lactating women, or children under the age of 8 years. Another example of this class of antibiotics is tetracycline itself.
- Penicillin. This group antibiotic can be given as a substitute for the tetracycline group , especially in patients with Lyme disease who are allergic to doxycycline, pregnant women, and children under the age of 8 years. Examples of penicillin antibiotics are penicillin VK, penicillin G, and amoxicillin.
- Macrolid . In addition to the two groups of antibiotics above, macrolide antibiotics can also help treat Lyme disease. This antibiotic can be given to patients who cannot be given tetracycline or penicillin. Examples of macrolide antibiotics are erythromycin, clarithromycin, and azithromycin .
- Cephalosporin. This group antibiotic is usually used as an alternative for patients who cannot be given doxycyline , for example cefuroxime . In addition, cephalosporin injections are also given to patients with severe symptoms. Examples of injecting antibiotics that enter the cephalosporin group are ceftriaxone and cefotaxime .
If treated quickly, patients with Lyme disease usually recover and rarely cause death after undergoing antibiotic therapy. However, the sufferer can become infected again if he is bitten again by ticks that spread the Borrelia bacteria .
Complications of Lyme Disease
If not treated properly, Lyme disease can trigger various complications such as:
- Rhythm disturbance
- Nervous system disorders, such as facial muscle paralysis and neuropathy .
- Cognitive abnormalities, such as memory disorders.
- Chronic joint inflammation due to Lyme disease (lyme arthritis).
Ten to twenty percent of patients can experience post-treatment for Lyme disease syndrome even though appropriate antibiotics have been given. This syndrome can last up to 6 months, with symptoms of headache, vertigo , muscle or joint pain, fatigue, paresthesia, insomnia, mood disorders, cognitive impairment, and hearing loss.
During or after treatment allergic reactions or inflammation can occur that involves the skin, mucous layer, nervous system, and internal organs. This is called the Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction .
Prevention of Lyme Disease
Prevention of Lyme disease can be done through simple steps. The most effective way is to avoid places that might be the habitat of Lyme disease lice. For example shrubs or grasses. There are also other simple steps that we can do, such as:
- Using closed clothes, especially when on the grass.
- Check yourself, family, and pets, and get rid of lice that sit on the skin (if any) after activities in the grassy area. The way to get rid of it is to slowly remove the lice from the skin on the head using tweezers. Don’t squeeze or pat the tick. Use antiseptics directly on the area infested with fleas after the fleas are removed from the skin.
- Use anti-buffering cream for the skin during activities in grassy areas. This cream can be used by adults and children alike to avoid letting Lyme disease spread mites.