Is Lyme Disease Contagious

Published: 11th May 2009
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Lyme disease is an infection which is caused by the bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacterium is generally seen in animals such as mice and deer. It can be transferred to people from these animals by Ixodes ticks: as well known as black - legged or deer ticks. These ticks pick up the bacterium when they bite infected animals and then infect humans by biting them and passing the bacteria into human bloodstream. Young ticks, or nymphs, are about the dimension of a poppy seed. Mature ticks are about the size of a sesame seed. So spotting them is very difficult with naked eyes.

Because the ticks are hard to spot we should be aware of the symptoms of Lyme disease. It is easy to overlook a tick bite. Many people who get Lyme disease do not remember being bitten. But the good news is that most tick bites do not result in Lyme disease. Lyme disease is not contagious, so we cannot catch it from another person. But we can get it more than once from ticks that live on deer, in the woods, or travel on our pets.

Lyme disease can have an effect on different body systems, such as the nervous system, joints, skin, and heart. The symptoms of Lyme disease can be described and classified into three stages.

The initial sign of the disease is a rounded rash. This rash occurs within 1-2 weeks of infection but may develop within a month of the tick bite. The rash often has a distinct "bull's-eye" appearance, with a central red spot surrounded by clear skin that is ringed by an expanding red rash. It may also occur as an expanding ring of solid redness. It may be warm to the touch and is generally not sore or scratchy. The bull's-eye rash may be more difficult to see on people with darker skin tones, and may look like a bruise.

The rash frequently cures on its own in about a month. Although this rash is considered typical of Lyme disease, many people never develop it. Besides the inflammation a person may experience flu-like indication such as swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, headache, and muscle pain. If it is left untouched, symptoms of the initial illness may go away on their own. But in some people, the infection can extend to other parts of the body.

Lyme disease can influence the heart also leading to an uneven heart rhythm or chest pain. It can extend to the nervous system, causing facial paralysis or stinging and numbness in the arms and legs. It can lead to illness such as headaches and neck inflexibility, which may be an indication of meningitis. Swelling and pain in the large joints can also crop up.

The last stage of Lyme disease can occur if the early stages of the disease are not detected or properly taken care of. Indication of late Lyme disease can become visible any time from weeks to years after an infectious tick bite. They may comprise arthritis, predominantly in the knees, and memory lapses.

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