Lyme Disease Awareness Month
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by Trinity Gruenberg
May is Lyme Disease Awareness month.
Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks.
Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans (bullseye rash). If left untreated, the infection can spread to joints, the heart and the nervous system.
Lyme is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks. Laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods.
Most cases of Lyme can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. Steps to prevent it include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat. The ticks that transmit the disease can occasionally transmit other tickborne diseases as well.
According to the CDC, Lyme Disease is the fastest growing vector-borne infectious disease in the United States.
Since surveillance of the disease began in 1982, the number of cases have increased 25 fold.
Lyme disease infects 300,000 people a year. This estimate shows the disease is a public health problem. The CDC estimates there are 34 new cases reported every hour. . .