Lyme’s disease is an infectious disease carried by ticks caused by bacteria from the genus Borrelia. Lyme’s disease is the most frequent disease that is transmitted from animals to humans. Prevention is very difficult because currently there is no vaccine against Lyme’s disease. Insect repellent can be used to reduce the likelihood for ticks to attach to the skin but this does not mean full protection. Another problem is that ticks can be collected in city parks and on playgrounds, where they can be found in large numbers.
The greatest danger about Lyme’s disease transmitted by ticks is that the symptoms are very often mistaken for those of other diseases, and if the disease is not diagnosed properly, treatment is likewise delayed. Treating the symptoms may help temporarily but the infection will persist.
- Difficulties in diagnosing Lyme’s disease
- Determining whether the tick was infected
- Recognition of Lyme’s disease
- What are the symptoms that raise the suspicion of Lyme’s disease?
The diagnosis of Lyme’s disease is difficult for several reasons
- Tick bites are not painful, therefore they often go unnoticed.
- The male tick can detach itself after feeding a little blood but infection can still occur.
- Lyme’s disease does not have typical symptoms that are expressed in every case of infection.
- The bacteria penetrates the human cell, thus the system will not produce antibodies.
- After infection the surface of the bacterium undergoes repeated transformation, which makes it more difficult for the body to manage the infection.
- The disease can be dormant for years, sometimes decades, with hardly any symptoms.
- Lyme’s disease can be caught repeatedly. Fully cured infection does not prevent a recurrence.
Determining whether the tick was infected
In 2005 the Istenhegyi Genetic Diagnostic Centre introduced tick testing. Our lab will test the tick brought or sent to us for Borrelia infection.
Recognition of Lyme’s disease
Lyme’s disease is often difficult to identify, and sometimes it takes a long time before the patient is seen by the appropriate specialist. The possibility of Lyme’s disease is often raised after erroneous diagnoses and several courses of ineffective and painful treatment.
Our Genetic Diagnostic Centre applies state-of-the-art tests, which are likely to detect Lyme”s disease. This gives our specialists a better chance to effectively treat patients with Lyme borreliosis.
What are the symptoms that raise the suspicion of Lyme’s disease?
- The most important question is whether the person was bitten by a tick before the onset of symptoms.
- Is or was there a bull’s eye rash on the patient’s skin?
In the absence of these direct indicators the patient can experience the following symptoms:
- Unjustified fatigue
- “Summer flu”
- Arthritis, joint ache
- Muscle and tendon pain
- Cardiac arrhythmia
- Vision, hearing and balance problems
- Facial palsy
Typical symptoms are often entirely missing and the disease is indicated only by a general weakening, severe weight loss, diminished working and learning abilities, a change in the patient’s behavior and memory loss.
If Lyme’s disease is suspected complex serological laboratory tests are done at our Genetic Diagnostic Centre.
The patient will be seen by specialists at the Istenhegyi Genetic Diagnostic Centre who have had over a decade’s experience in treating Lyme borreliosis. We use our molecular biological data to further develop the principles of treatment thqat have been established so far.
It is important to stress that although Lyme’s disease takes a long course, it is curable by individualized, and if necessary, repeated treatment.
Full recovery is guaranteed if the patient is free of symptoms over a long term. The Istenhegyi Genetic Diagnostic Centre offers high-standard follow-up treatment.