Lyme Disease Treatment
Lyme Disease Treatment is tedious and difficult. Especially in the early stages of the infection, however, it is possible to control the infection. In the advanced stages 2 and 3 , in which first a distribution of the pathogen in the body, and finally a chronicity of the disease takes place, the effectiveness of a Lyme Disease Treatment is controversial.
Because Lyme disease , a common form of Lyme disease in Europe , is a Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium that is found in the northern hemisphere , antibiotic therapy is most promising in humans.
The most common carrier of Lyme disease in Germany is the tick . Although mosquitoesand brakes are also suspected of transmitting Borrelia, the prevalence rate is not nearly as high here.
Lyme Disease Treatment
After the sting by an infected tick, within the incubation period of 2-4 weeks a so-called mollusc , also called erythema migrans , forms, which represents a rash after the tick bite . This is considered as evidence of a Borrelia infection, but unfortunately often not recognized as such. Only at this early stage is the infection still relatively easy to get at:
The RKI (Robert Koch Institute) recommends Lyme Disease Treatment with tetracycline, for example Doxycyclin® . Since Doxycyclin ® is contraindicated in children and pregnant women , it differs here from Amoxicillin ® , or Cefuroxim. Tetracyclines are a group of antibiotics that prevent the synthesis of bacteria from bacterial DNA .
They dock to the bacterial proteins that create proteins from the DNA , and block their binding sites. This leads to the blockade of the bacterial synthesis , the supply of bacteria dried up. The already produced bacteria are destroyed by the body’s own immune system .
An antibiotic must be in the early stages for four weeks in Lyme Disease Treatment in late stage also for 4 weeks carried out. Prophylactic antibiotics after tick bite are not recommended.
Amoxicillin ® and Cefuroxim ® are used in children and pregnant women. Both inhibit the cross-linking of the bacterial wall building blocks , so that the bacterial wall breaks down, without which the bacterium can no longer function.
Since allergies to individual antibiotics can exist, the therapy has already been tried with many different antibiotics. In studies, the Lyme Disease Treatment failure of individual antibiotics in the range 10-50% was estimated. Say in 10-50% of patients, the antibiotic used had no detectable effect, and had to be switched to another antibiotic.
This shows, on the one hand, how difficult an advanced stage therapy is and, on the other hand, how important it is to start therapy as early as possible.
The cost of Lyme disease treatment depends heavily on the stage of the disease. It seems logical that a 4-week antibiotic therapy is less costly than the treatment of a fulminant Borrelia infection in the late stages.
While the cost of a four-week antibiosis is in the region of € 50 , the cost of providing a severely disabled patient with paralysis after neuroborreliosis is 100 times higher.
Since the long-term consequences of a Borrelia infection for humans on the one hand on the one hand very diverse, on the other hand can be very difficult, the earliest possible start of therapy is important. However, a blood test using serology costs more than 100 € , and is therefore not a flat rate. Rather, there are a number of other diseases that are much more likely than Lyme disease , which can be detrimental to a person infected with Borrelia, as they are usually excluded first.
The duration of Lyme disease treatment is in the early stages at 2-4 weeks antibiotic therapy .
In later stages longer Lyme Disease Treatment periods are necessary because the bacterial load is already higher. In the late stage, the usefulness of an antibiotic is currently being discussed, as there is disagreement over whether the side effects of antibiotic therapy do not exceed the benefits that the patient derives from it.
In these cases, it is difficult to find the mediocre between adequate Lyme Disease Treatment on the one hand, and a tolerable level of side effects on the other hand. The late stage can occur after just a few months , and then chronify for months and years. But even at this stage, a cure is still possible, although often permanent damage, such as joint problems can not be ruled out. Furthermore, too early a change of the antibiotic is not recommended, according to guidelines, a conversion should take place only after four weeks , if the applied antibiotic seems to show no effect.
The differences between Lyme disease treatment in humans and animals are low:
Like my human, most animals become infected with borrelia by a tick bite . The most common form of Lyme disease in the Northern Hemisphere is also the ” Lyme Disease ” for animals . First diagnosed in 1975 in the town of Lyme, Connecticut, USA, the diagnosis was first made in 1984 in New York for an animal, or more precisely, a dog .
The symptoms are also relatively nonspecific, and are mostly manifested by fever , laxity , and loss of appetite . In later stages, the pathogen then spreads to the organ system, affecting the heart , kidneys , and liver , and can also lead to ” Lyme arthritis “, an arthritis that occurs primarily in the knee joint . This can be treated by puncturing excess joint fluid from the affected joint – a procedure that must be repeated at regular intervals.
If the bacteria attack the nervous system ( neuroborreliosis ) , this can lead to aggressive behavior of the animal. Also, movement disorders were observed. D
The observations are mainly for dogs , cats seem to be relatively immune to a Borrelia infection.
Lyme disease treatment, as in humans, depends on the stage and is done with antibiotics .
The duration of Lyme Disease Treatment is 2-3 weeks , then either a change of the antibiotic should be done in the absence of improvement, or a postponing after healing.
After forest walks , it is always advisable to inspect the animal for ticks by combing the fur. Most of these are relatively easy palpable. The removal is best done with the help of a tick remover , both in the pharmacy , as well as in pet storesis available. With her, the tick can be slowly and controlled turned out.
Unlike humans, vaccines are available for animals . It needs to be refreshed annually and repeated (” boosted “) after the first dose of 3-4 weeks . Furthermore, fragrances are available, which are usually applied to the neck of the animal. These cover the fragrance of the animal and make it uninteresting for ticks. For cats, however, these chemotactic agents are rather unpleasant because their personal scent is very important to them, and also part of the personality. It should also be noted that only against the in Borrelia burgdorfia ), and other strains exist, against which then may not be vaccinated. Therefore, additional protection with fragrances and control of the coat, especially in dogs makes sense.
Lyme disease is mainly transmitted by ticks. Typical early symptom is a redness at the sting site, which spreads slowly (Wanderröte). But it can also be missing. More about diagnosis and therapy.
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is an infectious disease that is transmitted almost exclusively by infected ticks. It is the most common tick-borne disease. Very rarely, even flying insects (horse brakes, mosquitoes) may be disease carriers. When sucking blood, the tiny arachnids pass on the pathogens to their “victim”. The causative agents of Lyme disease are bacteria from the group of Borrelia.
There is a risk of infection worldwide and in all regions of Germany. In the middle and in the south of the country slightly more ticks are infected than in the north. On average, about every fifth tick carries Borrelia in this country.
In the “tick season” from March to October, the risk of infection is greatest. But even in autumn and even in winter, tick bites occur, so a transfer is possible.
What symptoms occur?
Lyme disease can cause very different symptoms. At the site of the tick bite, a characteristic annular redness may form after days to weeks, the diameter of which grows (Wandering red, erythema migrans). In the further course it sometimes comes to nerve pain, paralysis, inflammation of brain and meninges, but also spinal cord and peripheral nerves . This neuroborreliosis can therefore affect all parts of the central and peripheral nervous system. Joint pain (Lyme arthritis) or certain skin changes occur. The symptoms vary, however.
Lyme disease: What is the therapy?
The treatment ofLyme disease should occur as early as possible. The doctor usually prescribes antibiotics.
There is no vaccine against Lyme disease. Measures to protect against tick bites are therefore particularly important. It also helps prevent other diseases transmitted by ticks, such as tick-borne encephalitis ( TBE ).
According to estimates, around 50,000 to 100,000 people in Germany suffer from it each year. Eponym for the Lyme disease is the place Lyme in the US state of Connecticut, where the disease was described.
Lyme Disease: Causes and Risk Factors
Mostly you catch the pathogens of Lyme disease by the bite of a tick. Ticks live mainly in the grass, bushes and forests.
The Borrelia are transmitted mainly by infected ticks , in this country mainly from the common wood buck ( Ixodes ricinus ). Lyme borreliosis occurs throughout World, in the northern regions slightly less often than in the middle and in the south.
Ticks live in tall grass, bushes, hedgerows and forests. Most people are therefore infected with activities in nature – for example, while jogging, hiking or camping. However, infections also occur in the home garden or in a park in the middle of the city. Also animals (for example dogs or cats) can bring in infected ticks from outside. Only regions above approximately 1500 meters above sea level are considered practically “tick-free”.
The little bloodsuckers are especially active in spring and summer. That is why the cases of illness accumulate in these seasons. But sometimes a lot of time can pass between the infection and the first symptoms. There is also a certain risk of infection in autumn and even in winter.
The “minivampirs” absorb the bacteria when sucking blood and pass it on to their next meal – but not always with the sting. The pathogens are located in the intestines of the ticks. That is why the disease makers are sometimes transferred only after hours. The risk of disease is thus greater, the longer the tick remains in the skin . It is therefore important to remove the tick as quickly as possible. It should not be crushed. Because that increases the likelihood that she gives the disease germs in the puncture wound.
Often the tiny arachnids go unnoticed – especially if they are still in an early stage of development and are barely visible to the naked eye. Many Lyme disease patients can not remember a twinge.
Which measures best protect against ticks, and how to remove the tormentors correctly, if they should have stabbed, In addition to a transmission of Borrelia by ticks in very rare cases, flying insects (such as horse brakes, mosquitoes) pass with their sting the pathogens. There is no contagion from person to person.
Lyme Disease: What Symptoms Occur?
The Lyme disease can cause different symptoms. Characteristic is a redness around the sting site, which spreads. Often she is missing too.
In many cases, infection occurs without symptoms or disease. Then the doctor finds evidence in a blood test that the immune system has responded to the pathogen at some point. In these cases, however, it is just a “scar” in the blood that can persist for many years.
The disease typically occurs in three phases (see below) that are associated with different symptoms. The three stadiums, however, do not all have to be run through. They can be heavier, milder and in a different order. The diagnosis is therefore not always easy.
In addition, patients often suffer from ambiguous general symptoms such as fatigue, night sweats , fever or nonspecific joint and muscle pain, for which other causes are also possible. In that case, it is especially important to interpret blood values correctly and not to premature the diagnosis of (neuro) Lyme disease.
Lyme disease can be found in numerous places in the body, especially the skin, the nervous system, the joints and the heart. The disease can become chronic, but it does not always cause long-lasting symptoms. There are sometimes long symptom-free intervals between individual disease phases.
1st stage of Lyme disease – skin infection (erythema migrans)
At the site of the tick bite, a typical reddening often develops after a few days to about four weeks. It is usually circular and sharply demarcated. As a rule, their diameter grows larger and the middle becomes paler. Because the skin change spreads in this characteristic form, it is called also Wanderröte (Erythema migrans). The Wanderröte is a clear indication of Lyme disease. However, it is missing in every other case.
Other symptoms include fever , conjunctivitis and head, muscle and joint complaints. Rapid therapy is particularly important at this stage of the disease. Because the sooner the Lyme disease is treated, the sooner a chronic course can be prevented.
2nd phase of Lyme disease – spread in the organism
After about one to six months, the pathogens have spread throughout the body. If the nervous system is affected (acute neuroborreliosis), pain in the spread of individual nerves or paralysis may occur, for example, the paralysis of a facial nerve (facial palsy). Sensitivity disorders also occur. Rarely, meningitis or encephalitis occurs with fever, headache and neck pain . The pathogens can also affect the heart, which may be noticeable in the form of cardiac arrhythmia .
Stage 3 Lyme disease – Chronic stage
Late symptoms may rarely appear months to years later. Affected are then mainly joints , skin and nervous system. Typically, single or few joints – most commonly the knee joints – become inflamed and cause pain (Lyme arthritis). The symptoms may persist or occur in spurts.
Especially on the arms and legs sometimes changes the skin, is thinner and discolored bluish (acrodermatitis chronica atrophicans Herxheimer).
Chronic cerebral and spinal cord inflammation (chronic neuroborreliosis) with paralysis is also a possible late symptom of Lyme disease.
Lyme disease can develop into a chronic condition in the worst case. Years of Lyme arthitis or paralysis are often distressing for sufferers. Self-help groups for people who suffer from the consequences of a Borrelia infection, offer advice, help and the mutual exchange of experience.
Lyme Disease: Diagnosis
Doctor’s talk and examination point the way to the right diagnosis.
In conversation, the doctor inquires especially about the exact symptoms and tick bites in the past. Often, this already results in the suspicion of Lyme disease . However, many patients do not remember a tick bite. He may also have been overlooked. Some symptoms also fit with other illnesses.
Indications arise from the exact physical examination. Characteristic, but not always present early symptom is the so-called Wanderröte (erythema migrans, see chapter ” Symptoms “). If it is clearly recognizable, that is enough to start the therapy.
Blood tests – not always clear
Things get more difficult with untypical cases. Blood tests may show specific antibodies to Borrelia. However, this only means that the body has already had contact with the pathogens. Antibodies to the pathogen have many people in their blood , including some who have never had Lyme disease or have already survived the infection. The fact that a Borrelia infection is the cause of the current complaints, the antibody detection so not yet proven.
Conversely, lack of specific antibodies does not necessarily exclude Lyme disease. This is especially true for the early phase of the disease. How well the antibody detection succeeds depends on the test procedure used. In addition, other pathogens can falsify the outcome, indicating Lyme disease where there is none at all.
If the symptoms are very strongly suggestive of Lyme disease, the doctor will start treatment regardless of the result of the blood test.
As soon as symptoms other than the wandering redden appear, a cerebrospinal fluid examination makes sense. Brain water is obtained by a small puncture in the spinal canal (a lumbar puncture). The doctor may also examine synovial fluid if joints cause problems. This will help gather more clues that will lead to the correct diagnosis.
It is more difficult to prove the Borrelia directly in the body. For this purpose, in the sample – preferably in the brain fluid – searched for parts of the bacterial genetic substance. But here too, if the proof is not successful, there may still be Lyme disease, especially in the early stages of the infection.
Some companies offer to check in dead ticks for Borrelia genes. However, experts advise against such offers. The fact that pathogens are contained in a tick does not mean that an infection must have taken place. In this respect, the information does not necessarily help with the diagnosis. The examination is not paid by the health insurance companies.
Lyme Disease: Therapy
Lyme disease is usually treated with antibiotics.
Therapy for Lyme disease should begin as early as possible. The doctor prescribes certain antibiotics as tablets, juice or infusion – depending on the stage and course of the disease.
The duration of treatment is usually two to three weeks, longer therapies have no benefit according to experts, are even associated with higher risks due to drug side effects. Preventive antibiotics after tick bites are not recommended in Germany.
Even after years of illness, a cure is still possible. The Lyme disease can also leave permanent damage (for example joint problems).
The infection does not leave a lifelong immunity. Even after a successful infection it can therefore come to a new infection.
Unlike in the case of tick-borne encephalitis (TBE), there is currently no vaccine against Borrelia in Germany. More about TBE vaccination can be found in the Guide FSME .
Lyme disease: protection against ticks
The best protection against Lyme disease: Avoid ticks when possible. The best tips. In addition: How to remove ticks correctly.
A safe protection against ticks does not exist. Nevertheless, there are ways to prevent bites. And it’s not just worth it for Lyme disease. Because the “mini-vampires”, especially in certain risk areas, can also transmit viruses that trigger an early-summer meningoencephalitis (TBE). What is suggestive of this disease and how it is treated, you will learn in the guide TBE .
Protecting against ticks – that helps:
- When traveling in nature, the clothing should cover the skin as completely as possible. The trouser legs – if feasible – stuck in the shoes.
- Bright clothes are cheaper, because you can see the ticks better.
- Smooth substances prefer to it, the tiny things can hold on harder.
- At the edge of the forest, in the woods and on meadows do not walk with open shoes or barefoot.
- Insect repellents can be applied to free skin. They provide some protection for about two to three hours. Let the pharmacy advise you which products are best for you. Do not use too often and not in infants!
- After an excursion, carefully check skin and clothing for ticks – quickly remove ticks that have already stung.
- A pet that stays a lot outdoors should also be carefully screened, as the ticks often hang only in the fur and can easily be transferred to humans. Contact with wild animals as potential tick carriers (hedgehogs, in hunters contact with game) should be avoided.
Remove ticks – how it works:
- Remove the tick as soon as possible. Because the following applies to the transmission of Lyme disease : The longer the tick remains sucked, the greater the risk of infection.
- Forget dubious “home remedies”! Never drip oil, nail polish, glue or the like on the tick – it only increases the likelihood that it will release its saliva into the wound (and with it possibly pathogens).
- Grasp the tick with a fine splinter tweezer just above the skin and slowly pull it out. Do not turn! If possible, the tick should not be squeezed because otherwise it will release pathogens into the wound.
- Disinfect the puncture site with a wound disinfectant.
- What to do if the head of the tick breaks off and gets stuck? It is best to observe well if the spot ignites. If yes, definitely go to the doctor – children are affected, then sooner rather than later. For each wound, the tetanus protection should also be checked.
- It is important that you observe the sting site for a few months. If there is a redness that spreads, it could be a wandering red (see chapter ” Symptoms “). Then definitely see a doctor!