BITES & LYME'S DISEASE
one of our competitors and an expedition doctor, has contracted
Lyme's Disease from a tick bite at the LAMM. We suggest you read
this if you were also bitten by a tick. Not surprisingly, Martin
is now well clued up about the disease and offers some very sound
is a bacterial infection spread by ticks. The bacterium (a spirochaete)
is called Borrelia burgdorferi.
You need to be bitten by an infected tick. Most ticks do not carry
the disease. It is also thought that infection is less likely if
the ticks have not been attached for you for a day or two.
Diagnosis in the early stages of the disease is essentially a clinical
one ie. based on what has happened to you and your symptoms rather
than specific laboratory tests.
Runners have spent 2 days in an area where there are deer and ticks.
At least one of those (the one that got me!) carries Borrelia.
The definitive sign of Lyme disease is a rash spreading from the
site of a bite. This may occur 3 - 30 days after the bite, and classically
looks like bulls eye on a target with a darker ring surrounding
a paler inner. This rash is called erythema migrans.However, up
to half of patients don't get a rash at all and in many of those
who do the rash is not typical. There are often flu-like symptoms
with aching muscles and joints and headaches.
Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics, and the earlier the
diagnosis is made and treatment started the better, as a few untreated
people do go onto develop a chronic form of the disease which can
be quite disabling.
So my advice:
- Don't panic
if you have been bitten by ticks in the absence of a rash or other
symptoms you don't need any investigation or treatment.
- If you have
developed or develop an unexplained rash in the next few weeks
do see your GP and explain where you have been running, and that
you have had tick bites. The same is true if you develop unexplained
- Beware the
misinformation on the web. I would recommend as a starting point
the Health Protection Agency website www.hpa.org.uk and for further
information the links in www.patient.co.uk.
Please let me
know if I can help further. I can be reached at any time on 07989
Rhodes - firstname.lastname@example.org