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Borrelia Burgdorferi: Lyme Disease

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Borrelia burgdorferi was first diagnosed as Lyme disease in 1982 when the bacteria were isolated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The spirochete has been in the United States and Europe for many years but had gone un-diagnosed because of the limited medical knowledge. It is named after the leading American bacteriologist, Willy Burgdorfer, after his extensive research between the arachnid vectors and the human host was acknowledged. He studied many different diseases caused by animals, but the discovery of Lyme disease gained him recognition around the world. There are many tick-borne diseases, but Lyme disease is the number one tick-borne disease in America. The number of diagnoses has increased significantly in the last…show more content…
The spirochete has a unique and distinct morphology because of its long, spiral or twisted body and periplasmic flagella. Because of the flagella is between the inner and outer membranes and the body is helical, Borrelia burgdorferi is particularly motile. The flagella are positioned at each end of the spirochete and overlap through the center of the bacteria. This contributes to the shape of the bacteria as well, which is somewhat unique to Borrelia burgdorferi. The bacteria move in a forward spiral motion allowing it to spread quickly inside of the host. In humans, there are toll-like receptors and antigens that lead to the production of cytokines to fight off the foreign invader. However, some of the bacteria have special mechanisms to avoid the immunity response and is able to evade it. Lyme disease can be classified as a zoonosis because it is a disease that is carried by animals and transmissible to humans as the ideal host. Once the tick is infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, the tick can pass the disease onto any human that it feeds off of. Ticks have a hypostome, or barbed mouth, that latches onto the skin in folded, less visible, moist areas. Once they attach to the skin, they begin to feed off of the host and this is when Borrelia burgdorferi is able to transmit. The tick bite is often not severe enough for the human host to recognize that he or she has been bitten. In the infected tick, Borrelia…show more content…
Staying away from areas that have a high risk for infected ticks is the best way to not get the disease. This, however, can not be avoided when the high risk areas are increasing and that those areas are inhabited by many animals, insects, and humans. There are ways to avoid getting infected with Lyme disease such as tick and insect repellant, protective clothing, and proper tick removal. Tick and insect repellants are effective for keeping ticks away for several hours to several days, depending on the repellant used. Trans-p-menthane-3,8-diol is a repellant that can last for several days and is effective for the prevention of tick bites when camping, hiking, living in an area that has a high risk for Lyme disease. N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide, or DEET, is another repellant that prevents tick bites. It does not last as long, however, and must be re-applied for the best results. Protective clothing is also important for people who could be bitten by ticks. This decreases the exposure of a person’s skin so that the ticks are not able to latch on and transmit the disease. It is also advised for people to practice good personal hygiene after possible exposure to ticks. Ticks will find the warm, moist, crevasses of the skin to latch on, so those areas of the body must be checked often. The most effective way to remove a tick is with forceps in a swift, smooth motion that pulls the entire tick
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