What Is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is not new, it has been around for over 5,000 years and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites 300,000 people per year in the U.S. alone become stricken with Lyme, although many argue that is woefully under-diagnosed. In 1977 three Connecticut communities reported an epidemic of a strange sudden arthritis that began to take down many patients. Many scientists considered the epidemic to be virus-based. Several years later in 1982, Dr. Willy Burgdorfer discovered there was a spirochete bacteria in the tick, which was named after him — Borrelia burgdorferi.

This spirochete bacteria is transmitted through the bite of an infected black-legged tick —the longer a tick is attached the greater the chances are that it can transmit both bacterial and viral infections. As the tick feeds on the blood of its host, it releases the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria,such as potentially other co-infections such as babesiosis to Powassan, into the bloodstream.

 Cases of Lyme disease have been reported in all 50 states and every continent —besides Antartica.

Identifying Lyme disease is not easy for a number of reasons. Most laboratory tests covered by insurance and known by your local doctor are unreliable and every year, the number of infectious diseases carried by ticks grows significantly. Also, common signs of Lyme disease don’t always present for many years and symptoms can vary widely from patient to patient. It is not uncommon for those suffering through Lyme disease to spend years being incorrectly diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, thyroid disease, psychiatric disorders, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune diseases: including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis among others.

Laura MacLeod