Lyme disease is a tick-borne systemic infection cause by a spiral organism, Borrelia burgdorferi, characterized by neurologic, joint, and cardiac manifestations. Lyme disease is carried by a tiny tick. It begins with a bite and a rash that can be so slight, you may not even notice. However the consequences can be serious, sometimes even fatal. Lyme disease can create symptoms that mimic a wide variety of other diseases, ranging from juvenile arthritis to multiple sclerosis to Alzheimer’s disease.
The birth of Lyme disease started in Lyme, Connecticut. The disease was found in the 1960’s. Polly Murray moved to Lyme, Connecticut in 1959 with her four children. Within a few years of living in Lyme she began having periodic flu-like illnesses, headaches, and odd rashes. When she first went to the doctor they thought she had rheumatic fever and the doctors gave her penicillin. This helped for a little while but the symptoms returned in the spring and summer. In the early 1970’s Murray asked her doctor if this illness could be a delayed reaction to a tick bite, because she knew she had been bitten by ticks over the years. The doctor said no because she had no symptoms of Rocky Mountain spotted fever and in those days that was the only disease people thought was caused by ticks. Soon kids all over her neighborhood were coming down with the same symptoms. Murray kept at it and told everyone about the problems she had and had no answers for them. Later research found that her problems came from a tick called an Ixodes dammini tick.
Symptoms of Lyme disease can be highly variable from one person to another and also can vary dramatically over time in one person. Although there is a classic pattern of illnesses in Lyme disease, it is not expressed in nearly half of all patients. This can make spotting the disease extraordinary difficult and living with it frustrating and painful. The disease progresses in three stages. In the first stage the symptom...
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