What is Lyme Arthritis Disease: What Are Its Signs and Symptoms?

Public Health England estimates that annually 3,000 persons in the United Kingdom are diagnosed with Lyme disease. This amounts to eight new cases every day. Many primary care physicians, however, argue that this is too low. According to research published in 2019, there could be as many as 9,000 annual instances.

Furthermore, the number of reported incidents appears to have skyrocketed in the recent two decades. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the prevalence of this vector-borne disease in Europe is rising by 14% annually. What exactly is Lyme disease, and how is it treated?

What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread by ticks; the condition is also known as Lyme borreliosis. Diseases that are spread from one living organism to another by a vector are called “vector-borne diseases.” The tick is the disease vector in Lyme disease.

Ticks carrying the bacterium that causes Lyme disease in people are the vectors for spreading the illness. There is no way for the disease to spread from person to person, through food, or from animal to animal. This illness is the most widespread tick-borne disease in the Northern Hemisphere. The peak season for infections is late spring through early summer.

The sickness has been around for some time, but it wasn’t identified as such until 1975. The disease got its name when it was first identified in Lyme, Connecticut.

Early cases were often misdiagnosed as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis before the condition was recognised for what it is today.

While Lyme disease vaccine development for humans is still in its early stages, canine preventatives are currently available.

What causes Lyme disease?

Borrelia burgdorferi, a spiral-shaped bacterium, is the causative agent of Lyme disease. Lyme disease can be caused by any one of eight different bacterial species. The illness is considered a zoonotic disease since it is spread from animals to humans, in this case by ticks.

There are three phases in a tick’s life cycle: the larval, the nymphal, and the adult. The nymphal stage of the tick is responsible for the vast majority of Lyme disease cases. Since ticks at this stage are so little, they can hide and continue feeding for a while longer without being seen. Nymphal ticks can be no bigger than a poppy seed.

What is Lyme Arthritis Disease
What is Lyme Arthritis Disease

Also, ticks can hide their bites by producing chemicals that dull pain and itching once they attach. However, only about 1.4% of tick bites are thought to spread Lyme disease.

What are the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease?

Depending on the infection stage, untreated Lyme disease will have wide-ranging symptoms. These include arthritis, facial paralysis, rash and fever.

Between 3 and 30 days after a tick bite, a person might have the following signs and symptoms:

  • Chills, headache, fever, aches in joints and muscles, feeling tired, and lymph nodes that are swollen.
  • EM rash (erythema rash): Between 70% and 80% of people get this. After about three days, it will start at the bite site. The rash usually starts 7 days after the tick bites, but it can start anywhere from 3 to 30 days later.
  • The rash will slowly spread out, and it could be as big as 30 centimetres across.
  • Even though it might not hurt or itch, it might feel warm.
  • As the rash grows, it often clears up in the middle, making it look like a bull’s eye. It can also show up anywhere on the body and might not look like a typical erythema migrans rash at all.

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