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Brief Overview of Lyme Disease

written by: Lashan Clarke•edited by: Diana Cooper•updated: 5/30/2013

Lyme disease is caused by a tick bite and can affect anyone. Learn more about the symptoms and diagnosis of this disease.

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    Lyme Disease

    Lyme disease is a condition that is caused by ticks that spread the bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacterium is spiral in shape, and is transmitted when a tick infected with the bacteria bites a human or an animal. All of the 48 continental states of the USA have had cases of people diagnosed with Lyme disease. However, it is mainly found in areas within the Northeast United States such as the state of Virginia. A full 48 hours must pass for the tick to transfer the bacteria for an infection to occur, as the bacteria has to wait for the tick to drink blood first.

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    Signs and Symptoms

    One of the first signs and symptoms of an infection of the Borrelia bacteria is a rash at the site of where the tick has bitten a few days after. The rash will also resemble a “bull’s eye” with the bite at the center, and an area of pale skin between the bite and the spreading rash. As the rash grows, it has the potential to reach to at least 30 centimeters in width. This rash can stay on the person’s body for upwards of a month and is not accompanied by pain or itchiness.

    After the rash has disappeared, the symptoms and signs of Lyme disease is not localized to one particular area of the body but can occur everywhere. There is a general feeling of tiredness, with muscle aches. The person can have a headache along with fever and chills. There is also widespread pain and inflammation in the joints. The person with Lyme disease might have inflammation of the heart or nerves. There may also be confusion, and dizziness. In prolonged or severe cases, the person may develop problems with memory or changes in mood.

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    Diagnosis & Treatment

    This disease is diagnosed using the Lyme disease C6 levels. The physician will take a sample of blood and test it for C6 antibodies to the Borrelia sp bacteria. The first test that is conducted is the ELISA test. This is an enzyme-linked immunoabsorbent assay for antibodies. It will detect the antibodies the body has made. The antibodies are more prevalent during the later stages of the disease and by using a western blot antibody test, the presence of Lyme disease is confirmed. The Western blot antibody test will separate out all the antibodies in the blood. This test is very specific, and used with the ELISHA test as confirmation of disease.

    The treatment of Lyme disease C6 levels to reduce the infection can be completed by a course of antibiotics for a few weeks to kill the bacteria during the early stage. In the later stage of the infection, antibiotics might be needed for at least a month.

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    Web Source: Specialty Labs. "Borrelia burgdorferi C6 peptide antibody." 2001. Available:

    Web Source: US Centers for Disease Control. "Learn about Lyme Disease." 2010. Available: