Lyme Disease Clarification
The following was posted to the Tracker School Standard Class
online group in July 2002...
I have to help clarify some things that people are confused
about regarding Lyme Disease. Please trust me, I'm a medical entomologist.
Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection that is transmitted only by ticks. The
deer tick is the primary vector of Lyme Disease. Other ticks such as the Lone
Star tick can transmit the bacteria as well. Lone Star ticks and other
ticks are infected less often. There is no evidence that mosquitoes
transmit the disease. Mosquitoes are responsible for transmitting other
diseases like West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis in NJ.
If you get infected with Lyme Disease you have about a 50/50
chance of getting the bull's eye. I forget the exact percentage. If
you get the bull's eye it may also look like a big red rash. The rash may
develop several weeks after the bite. You may or may not have other
symptoms. Other initial symptoms associated with an infection include:
back ache, other muscle aches, high fever, headache, and malaise. You can
get symptoms and not the rash or the rash and no symptoms.
The bull's eye is caused by the bacteria not the tick bite.
If you get any rash associated with a tick bite go see your doctor. Don't
wait until the rash goes away. Someone mentioned that it can be difficult
to get good test results and that's true. This is because there are so many
false negatives. If you get the rash they will most likely put you on
antibiotics right away because it may take you six weeks to develop detectable
antibodies to Lyme Disease. If the doctors don't see the rash they may not
give you the antibiotics and may make you wait for test results. This is the
unfortunate result of everyone thinking they have Lyme Disease for any symptom
they may (or may not) have after being outdoors.
Hope this helps.