Alex is going backpacking over spring break. He wants you to tell him about Lyme disease so he will know how to avoid it. How would you respond?
Ans: Ticks are carriers of Lyme disease, the most common arthropod-borne bacterial infection in the United States. Regions of infestation include the northeast coast, the Midwest, and western wooded and coastal areas. The causative organism, Borrelia burgdorferi, incubates for 3 to 32 days and then migrates to the skin, lymph nodes, and other body systems...The disease occurs in three stages: Stage I: An acute localized reaction occurs 3 weeks after the bite and is characterized by a bull's-eye-like burning rash about the bite, generalized malaise, flu-like symptoms, stiff neck, and headache...Stage II: Cardiac and neurologic involvement predominates in this stage and includes the following signs and symptoms: palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath, dysrhythmias, first-degree heart block, headache, chronic aseptic meningitis, Bell palsy, encephalitis, and radiculitis...Stage III: The chronic stage may occur up to 2 years after the bite and involves arthritis and involvement of brain parenchyma with encephalitis, chronic neuropathy, and encephalopathy. ..Antibiotics successfully treat the disease in 50% of individuals, but 50% will have minor recurring symptoms following antibiotic treatment.