Lyme disease: An Emerging Infectious Disease

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Disease and Pathology Lyme disease, or lyme borreliosis, is an emerging infectious disease transmitted by ticks. Lyme disease is considered an emerging infectious disease because it’s incidence has increased over the past 20 years, and it was not identified until 1975 in the United States (CITE). Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector-borne disease in the United States. Lyme disease causes symptoms similar to that of influenza, and includes headache, chills, fever, lethargy, and muscle pain in the initial stages. A bulls-eye shaped rash at the site of the tick bite can also occur in those infected, but not all infected persons develop the rash. The rash typically develops three to thirty days after the person is bitten. Later…show more content…
B. burgdorferi is injected into the skin by the bite of an infected tick. Saliva from the tick that enters the skin upon the bite contains not only the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, but substances that prevent an immune response from being carried out at the site. This provides a protective environment where the spirochete can establish infection (CITE).
From here, the spirochetes multiply and journey to other regions of the body. At this point in the course of infection, the bull’s eye rash begins to form, as the bitten individuals inflammatory response to the bacteria kicks in. The bacteria are able to survive and spread, because neutrophils, a normal structure involved in the immune response, do not appear (CITE). Days to weeks following the tick bite, the spirochetes spread through the bloodstream to joints, heart, nervous system, and distant skin sites, where their presence gives rise to the variety of symptoms previously mentioned. If left untreated, the bacteria that cause Lyme disease can remain in the body for months or longer, even though the body has produced antibodies against it. The spirochetes may avoid the immune response by decreasing expression of surface proteins that are targeted by antibodies (CITE).
Lyme disease is transmitted to humans from a natural reservoir (rodents and deer) by ticks that feed on both sets of hosts. Most infections are caused by ticks in the nymphal stage. Ticks in this stage
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