Lyme Disease

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Tick-borne Diseases - Article

ABSTRACT: Tick-borne diseases are the most common vector-borne illnesses in the United States. Lyme disease is the most common, but several others also occur. The ehrlichioses have only been identified as agents of human disease in the United States in the past few decades, and knowledge about them is still evolving. Rocky Mountain spotted fever is relatively common and can be severe, especially in children, if the diagnosis is not made quickly. Tularemia has long been known to cause disease in humans, but there is renewed interest because of its potential as a biologic warfare agent. These diseases can be severe or even fatal. Most of them are easily treatable when identified early. These diseases result from a variety of infectious agents including bacteria, rickettsia, viruses and protozoa, or they may be caused by substances produced by the tick. Most of these diseases present initially with nonspecific symptoms and are often difficult to recognize. Few definitive diagnostic tests are available. Therefore, knowledge of the epidemiology and common presentations, as well as the diagnostic options and treatments available, are important issues for family physicians.

Identifying the Vector of Lyme Disease - Article

ABSTRACT: Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne illness in the United States. It is caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted by the deer tick. Deer ticks have a four-stage life cycle (egg, larva, nymph, and adult), and nymphal ticks transmit B. burgdorferi to humans more frequently than adult ticks. Transmission of this spirochete typically requires a minimum of 24 to 48 hours of tick attachment. Early stages of Lyme disease are characterized by a hallmark rash, erythema migrans. The overall risk of acquiring Lyme disease is low in a person who has a deer tick bite. If erythema migrans develops at the site of the bite, treatment may include doxycycline in persons who are at least eight years of age. Administration of amoxicillin is appropriate for pregnant women or children younger than eight years. For those who are allergic to these medications, cefuroxime axetil may be used.

Diagnosis of Lyme Disease - Article

ABSTRACT: The use of serologic testing and its value in the diagnosis of Lyme disease remain confusing and controversial for physicians, especially concerning persons who are at low risk for the disease. The approach to diagnosing Lyme disease varies depending on the probability of disease (based on endemicity and clinical findings) and the stage at which the disease may be. In patients from endemic areas, Lyme disease may be diagnosed on clinical grounds alone in the presence of erythema migrans. These patients do not require serologic testing, although it may be considered according to patient preference. When the pretest probability is moderate (e.g., in a patient from a highly or moderately endemic area who has advanced manifestations of Lyme disease), serologic testing should be performed with the complete two-step approach in which a positive or equivocal serology is followed by a more specific Western blot test. Samples drawn from patients within four weeks of disease onset are tested by Western blot technique for both immunoglobulin M and immunoglobulin G antibodies; samples drawn more than four weeks after disease onset are tested for immunoglobulin G only. Patients who show no objective signs of Lyme disease have a low probability of the disease, and serologic testing in this group should be kept to a minimum because of the high risk of false-positive results. When unexplained non-specific systemic symptoms such as myalgia, fatigue, and paresthesias have persisted for a long time in a person from an endemic area, serologic testing should be performed with the complete two-step approach described above.

IDSA Issues Guidelines on the Treatment of Lyme Disease - Practice Guidelines

Fever, Leg Pain, and a Rash - Photo Quiz

American College of Physicians Issues Guidelines on Laboratory Evaluation of Lyme Disease - Special Medical Reports

ACIP Issues Recommendations for Lyme Disease Vaccine - Special Medical Reports

Significant FDA Approvals in 1999 - FDA Perspective

AAP Issues Recommendations on the Prevention and Treatment of Lyme Disease - Practice Guidelines

A Case of Medical Uncertainty - Curbside Consultation

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