Lyme disease-An acute, recurrent, inflammatory disease involving one or a few joints, and transmitted by the bite of ticks carrying the spiral-shaped bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi.
Lyme disease is an inflammatory disease transmitted through the bite of a deer tick carrying the spiral-shaped bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi.
Borrelia burgdorferi, the spiral-shaped bacterium called a spirochete, that causes Lyme disease, was not discovered until 1981 by Willy Burgdorfer.
In the United States, the deer tick in the genus Ixodes is the vector for Borrelia burgdorferi and Lyme disease transmission.
Lyme disease is transmitted when a tick carrying the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium bites a human to feed on blood.
Ticks are most likely to transmit Borrelia burgdorferi after remaining attached and feeding for two or more days.
Because they are still quite small (less than 2 mm), they are difficult to spot, giving them ample opportunity to transmit Borrelia burgdorferi while feeding.
Although far more adult ticks than nymphs carry Borrelia burgdorferi, the adult ticks are much larger, more easily noticed, and more likely to be removed before they have fed long enough to transmit Borrelia burgdorferi.
Neither Borrelia burgdorferi nor Lyme disease can be transmitted directly from one person to another or from pets to humans.
Lyme disease is caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium.
Once Borrelia burgdorferi gains entry to the body through a tick bite, it can move through the bloodstream quickly.
Only 12 hours after entering the bloodstream, Borrelia burgdorferi can be found in cerebrospinal fluid (which means it can affect the nervous system).
Medical laboratories can test the tick for Borrelia burgdorferi if the tick is alive; parents should place the tick in a tightly sealed plastic bag or small bottle with a moistened cotton ball and take it to the doctor.
The test, which searches for antigens (substances that stimulate the production of antibodies) produced by Borrelia burgdorferi, gives results within one hour in the doctor's office.
Treatment can be difficult because Borrelia burgdorferi comes in several strains (some may react to different antibiotics than others) and may even have the ability to switch forms during the course of infection.
Also, Borrelia burgdorferi can shut itself up in cell niches, allowing it to hide from antibiotics.
Finally, antibiotics can kill Borrelia burgdorferi only while it is active rather than dormant.
Co-infection with other infectious organisms spread by ticks in the same areas as Borrelia burgdorferi (babesiosis and ehrlichiosis, for instance) may be responsible for treatment failures or more severe symptoms.
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