New studies show that the cases of Lyme disease have increased in California, which determined scientists to alert the population regarding the dangers of being bitten by a tick and how to protect themselves from this parasite. Every year, approximately 300,000 people are diagnosed with this condition in the United States caused by Borrelia bacteria, but now experts have discovered that ticks are infected with a new bacteria, called Borrelia miyamotoi, especially in open spaces from Santa Clara and Santa Mateo counties. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the figures are ten times higher than it was initially believed, so more precautions should be taken.
Scientists from Stanford have found out that another bacteria is causing reactions similar to Lyme disease in California, which determined them to alert the population with regard to the possibility of having the condition. Dan Salkeld, research associate at the Stanford Woods Research Institute for the Environment stated that the new discovery which involves a type of bacteria that causes Lyme-like symptoms “is like a wake-up call.”
Evidence in Bay Area
Salkeld and his team conducted a study by slowly moving white flannel blankets through 12 recreational locations from Bay Area and found ticks not only with Borrelia burgdorferi, but also with the new bacteria which seems to cause symptoms similar to those representative for Lyme disease.
The findings prove that the disease caused by the spiral-shaped bacteria is not only an Eastern Coast problem, as previous known.
Moreover, ticks that carry the bacteria causing Lyme have been found in each county in California, which means that, although the pathogens are found up to 35 percent in the ticks in the Northeastern states, the infected parasites also exist in California.
Doctor Raphael Stricker, president-elect of the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society stated that he still finds cases of patients whose previous doctors told them “there’s no Lyme disease in California.” However, little is known of the new pathogen.
Symptoms and Recommendations
The early signs of the disease include fatigue, fever and headaches and, more often than not, are mistaken for the common flu. If left untreated, the condition can develop symptoms like joint swelling, numbness, heart problems, muscle weakness and cognitive difficulties. Also, the tick that bites its host can carry other infections which can complicate even more the diagnosis.
The most definitive signs which suggest that a person has been bitten and carries the Lyme disease is the bull’s eye rash around the bite.
The problem when diagnosing this particular condition is that people don’t recall being bitten by a tick, especially since the early signs mimic other illnesses. However, if diagnosed correctly and on time, it can be treated with antibiotics and although the recovery occurs in one or two weeks, it might take either weeks or months for the symptoms to go away.
Lyme disease is seldom transmitted from one person to another and the risk of infection decreases if the parasite is removed within 24, maximum 36 hours. Experts have discovered a new type of bacteria which causes symptoms similar to those of Lyme disease in California, so they alert the population to be careful when going in open spaces.
By Gabriela Motroc