Lyme disease caused by tick bites: symptoms and treatment

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Written By Kampretz Bianca

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Second stage of Lyme disease

A second stage of the disease may occur after weeks or months. Symptoms include painful joint inflammation, usually in the knees, hands or ankles, but also heart problems and various symptoms of meningitis.

Diagnosis is sometimes problematic. Symptoms are often confused with other clinical conditions. Most common misdiagnosis: rheumatism.

Can’t Vaccinate: How Can You Treat Lyme Disease?

As already mentioned, there is no vaccination against Lyme disease in Germany – unlike TBE. This is why the widespread expression “tick vaccination” is misleading.

The diagnosis is difficult to make due to non-specific symptoms and often late onset. Additionally, a blood test for Borrelia is often negative, especially in the early stages. It is important to recognize the disease early, because if left untreated it can lead to long-term consequences, such as inflammation of the joints or myocardium. Antibiotics are prescribed against a Lyme disease infection: “Patients who are treated with appropriate antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover quickly and completely,” according to the RKI.

How common is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is more common than tick-borne encephalitis. The occurrence of Borrelia in ticks varies greatly in small areas and can be as high as 30 percent, writes Das Robert Koch Institute (RKI): “According to studies from Germany and Switzerland, a Borrelia infection was detected in 2.6 to 5.6 percent of those affected after a tick bite, characterized by (…) the appearance of antibodies in the blood. Only a small proportion of people infected. In total, symptoms of the disease can be expected in 0.3 to 1.4 percent of tick bites (…).”

How can you protect yourself from Lyme disease?

The best way to combat Lyme disease is to avoid tick bites completely. Protection is provided by appropriate clothing when spending time outdoors, protective sprays and, above all, a thorough tick check upon returning home.

Quickly removing ticks after a bite also offers a certain level of protection due to the transmission time described above.

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