Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected black-legged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.
Human beings may come into contact with infected ticks during outdoor activities (camping, hiking). Symptoms include fatigue, chills, fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes and a skin rash (in a circular pattern). Long-term problems include arthritis, nervous system abnormalities, irregular heart rhythm and meningitis.
Laboratory testing is helpful in the later stages of disease.
Some victims of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics, while other victims develop chronic Lyme disease. There is constant pressure by insurance companies, for obvious financial reasons, to limit the long-term treatment of chronic Lyme disease, and even to claim it does not exist.
The name of the disease comes from the town of Lyme, Connecticut, where the disease (as in much of the northeast) is prevalent.
A vaccine was available from 1998 to 2002, but was then withdrawn from the market.
Until 2011, Lyme disease was largely a debate between chronic Lyme disease sufferers and insurance companies. However, the wife and seven of children of Michael Farris, a former Republican candidate for Virginia Governor, claim to have chronic Lyme disease, so he successfully campaigned to have the Loudoun County, Virginia government declare 2012 to be "Lyme Disease Awareness Year." Farris then asked Mitt Romney to adopt this cause and the Romeny-Ryan campaign has sent out a mailer entitled, "Lyme disease: A massive epidemic threatening Virginia". The Romney-Ryan campaign promises to enact federal immunity from malpractice liability for doctors who treat Lyme disease.
- This entry copies some statements from the government site CDC information, which is in the public domain, while adding other statements that are original.
- Gibson, Caitlin. "Loudoun launches campaign against Lyme disease", Washington Post, March 26, 2012. Retrieved on October 4, 2012.
- Jackman, Tom. "Loudoun County, ground zero in Lyme disease debate, attracts Romney-Ryan offer of help", Washington Post, October 4, 2012. Retrieved on October 4, 2012.