Lyme disease is caused by Borrelia, a spirochete bacteria. It’s the most common tick-borne infectious disease in the northern hemisphere and there are multiple strains of the bacteria. Lyme disease is endemic in many parts of the United Kingdom, particularly in woodland or heath-land areas but disease carrying ticks can also be found in cities and gardens.
Transmission of Lyme disease can occur when bitten by an infected tick. Other modes of transmission including congential transmission from mother to baby. Although Borrelia has been found in biting insects such as mosquitoes and spiders, there is not yet enough research to prove that the disease can be transmitted via them.
Symptoms can start with an erythema migrans (EM) rash, often described as a bulls-eye rash, but it can also be more irregular, which sometimes leads to a misdiagnosis of ringworm or cellulitis. It’s important to note that not every Lyme disease patient will experience or remember a rash, as figures state that the rash appears in two out of every three Lyme patients.
Patients don’t always remember a bite and the NHS two-tier testing has been widely criticised as flawed with a false-negative rate of 66.8% in early Lyme disease. At present, there is no gold-standard test for Lyme disease which can rule out the illness and there is no test for cure.
What everyone does appear to agree on is that if caught early, Lyme disease should be easier to treat, enabling the patient to return to full health. The chances are, the longer an infection is left untreated, the harder it will be to combat.
Symptoms of Lyme disease can include malaise, unexplained flu-like symptoms, soreness and achiness, light and noise sensitivity, cogntitive problems, fatigue, a stiff neck, facial palsy, numbness and tingling, Left untreated, the infection can spread anywhere in the body leading to around 70 recognised symptoms . People can develop issues with their endocrine and neurological systems and experience musculoskeletal, cardiac, dermatological and neuropsychiatric problems.
Lyme Disease UK Website