Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment for Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease ELISA TestAs the season change from colder to warmer, the threat of encountering infected ticks carrying Lyme disease increases. Active people who spend time outdoors during the spring and summer months are the most susceptible to infection. If a tick carrying the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium attaches itself to an individual, they will have the risk of developing Lyme disease.

In most cases, Lyme disease starts as a red skin rash that expands around the area of the tick bite. This bulls-eye rash occurs in approximately 70-80% of cases. Sometimes the onset of the rash can be delayed anywhere from 3-30 days after the bite occurs. In addition to the rash, early symptoms include severe headaches, painful or swollen joints, shooting pains, fever and swollen lymph nodes.

It’s important to seek medical attention if any of the symptoms occur after a known tick bite. In early phases physicians can make diagnosis by finding the classic red rash, but in later stages , physicians order laboratory Lyme disease ELISA test. This Enzyme linked immunoassay (ELISA) test can detect the antibodies produced by the body after exposure to the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium.  In some instances a second confirmatory test may also be used to ensure the proper diagnosis.

Once a diagnosis is made antibiotics are generally prescribed. When treated in its early stages most patients recover quickly. However, in some cases patients are left with Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS) which results in lingering symptoms. It’s best to seek medical attention early to reduce the risk of developing PTLDS.

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