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Lyme Disease - Research Paper Example

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Biology Lyme disease Definition Lyme disease is an infectious animal borne illness that is transmitted by species of bacteria belonging to the genus Borrelia (Samuels, 2010). Studies have shown that the diseases is caused by at least three species of this genus however, the main causative agent is a spirochete known as Borrelia burgdorferi (Mayo Clinic staff, 2005)…
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Lyme Disease
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Download file to see previous pages The disease was characterized by outbreaks in the early fall and during the summer which showed that the vector was an arthropod (Todar, n.d). Initially children were diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis; however, the increasing prevalence of the illness resulted in a detailed scientific research concerning the etiology of the disease. Studies of the pathogenesis and signs of the disease led to the discovery of its connection with Borrelia burgdorferi (Todar, n.d).This led to the distinction of the disease from rheumatoid arthritis as rheumatoid fever has an auto immune etiology (Edwards, Cambridge and Abrahams, 1999). The similarity of the symptoms of both diseases led to the incorrect diagnosis. Lyme disease has the highest prevalence among tick borne diseases in the Northern Hemisphere (Fell, 2000). Etiology The etiological agent was discovered by Willy Brgdorfer in 1982 (Todar, n.d). It was isolated from the gut of the black legged tick and was identified to be a spirochete from the genus Borrelia (Todar, n.d). The spirochetes were found to react with serum which had been extracted from patients suffering from Lyme disease. The etiologic agent was named after Willy Burgdorfer and is known as Borrelia burgdorferi. Other species which cause Lyme disease include B. garinii and B. afzelii. Recent studies have also suggested that Borrelia miyamotoi is a causative agent as it has been found to occur in areas where Lyme disease is an endemic (Krause, Wormser and Narasimhan et al., 2013). Lyme disease is transmitted by an agent known as Inxodes scapularies. The bacteria live within the gut of these ticks which feed on human and animal blood. These ticks feed on blood for a long period of time and the bites are usually undetected due to the size of the ticks (Lo Re, occi and Mc Gregor, 2004). Risk Factors Some of the risk factors associated with Lyme disease are the activities in which one participates (Mayo Staff clinic, 2005). Individuals who spend a majority of their time outdoors are prone to Lyme disease. The area which an individual lives in is also a risk factor for Lyme disease. Such areas include the Midwest and Northeast region (Diuk-Wasser, 2012). Ticks are mostly active during the warm seasons between May and November; hence this time period poses a risk of contracting the disease (Lyme disease Update Review, n.d). Events such as camping, hiking and gardening are also risk factors. The risk of contracting Lyme disease is high in individuals exposed to ticks. The highest cases have been reported among individuals between 5-15 years and 45-54 years old (University of Maryland Medical Center, n.d). Lyme disease is only transmitted in approximately 3% of all tick bites and the length of the bite increases the risk of transmission. Mechanism of the disease. Borrelia burgdorferi undergoes an infectious cycle from nymph moulds to adults. The female lays eggs which feed on the first host and are then dropped to the ground and transform to nymph. The nymphs then attach and feed on the second host (Wasiluk, 2011). The chronic form of the disease affects numerous organs of the body, in particular, the joints, skin, brain and heart. The disease is classified into three stages, the first stage being of limited infection, which is followed disseminated infection and the last stage is late borreliosis (Wasiluk, 2011). ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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