The myths and misconceptions about Lyme Disease
It’s been described as the ‘silent epidemic’ and, according to billionaire Phones4U tycoon John Caudwell who has seen 11 members of his family affected by Lyme disease, it is the “one of the most dangerous illness to mankind today”, but for such a troubling health concern there are many myths and misconceptions. https://www.bmj.com/company/newsroom/uk-tick-borne-lyme-disease-cases-may-be-3-times-higher-than-previous-estimates/
Lyme disease isn’t a problem in the UK
Lyme disease is considered one of the most common vector-borne diseases in the US, due to its large rural areas and climate changes over recent years. The two tick species that spread the Borrelia bacteria are now found in over half of all US counties and in the past two decades cases have tripled to more than 400,000 new cases every year. However, Lyme disease cases in the UK are also on the rise, partly driven by our warmer winters. It is estimated that there are approximately 3,000 new cases a year. https://www.lymedisease.org/lyme-ticks-in-half-of-us-counties/
Lyme disease can only be spread by tick bites
Lyme disease, or Lyme borreliosis, is a bacterial infection that is passed to humans through ticks, which are tiny arachnids. Ticks feed on the blood of mammals and birds and they can spread bacteria through their bite.
However, as Lyme disease cases rapidly rise in number, research is also growing. Scientists now believe that the bacterium can also be transmitted by other biting insects such as mosquitoes and fleas. Another concern is the growing belief that it can be communicated through sexual contact and pregnancy, raising the concern that it will spread through families.
Lyme disease is a rural problem
It is thought that Lyme disease is a rural problem as ticks are mainly located in woodland or heath areas, but a recent study carried out by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine found evidence of infected ticks in Richmond park, regularly used by members of the public. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/mve.12137/abstract;jsessionid=035C06A0640C3E388F10E7BE991CD5FE.f03t03
Lyme disease is indicated by a rash
Although the majority of those bitten by an infected tick, develop a distinctive red circular rash at the site of the bite in the first couple of weeks, this isn’t always the case. In fact, one in three people with Lyme disease will not develop this rash. Sometimes the rash will also present differently and appear in several places on the body.
Lyme disease is characterised by flu-like symptoms
In the early stages, you may experience flu-like symptoms, fatigue muscle and joint pain and headaches. If untreated or not treated effectively early on, then much more serious symptoms can develop. These include meningitis, inflammatory arthritis attacking the joints, problems with the nervous system that can affect memory and concentration and even cardiovascular concerns such as pericarditis and heart failure.
More worryingly, Lyme disease can mimic a number of serious diseases, making it a challenging condition to treat. It’s often confused with chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, lupus, motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Lyme disease can be treated with a short course of antibiotics
If Lyme disease is detected early enough, it is thought that it can be effectively treated with a course of antibiotics and current advice is that a two- to four-week course will be adequate although we would advise the latter.
Our medical director at IV Boost UK, Dr Joshua Berkowitz has recently attended a number of conferences on Lyme disease and is working closely with a leading Lyme disease clinic in Germany. For more information, call 020 3095 0002 to arrange a consultation.