Lyme’s Disease

BONE & JOINT DISORDERS (ARTHRITIS)

 

INFECTIVE OR SEPTIC ARTHRITIS – TYPES  

III. Lyme’s disease

 

Lyme’s disease is a bacterial illness caused by a bacteria called asBorrelia burgdoferi (a spirochete organism), transmitted by the Ixodes tick which infests dogs, sheep and deer. The tick bites the skin permitting the bacteria to infect the body. This disease is particularly common in eastern states of North America especially in New England, but also occur in Europe particularly Sweden. Disease is more common in spring and summer when ticks are most common.

 

Symptoms

The primary infection occurs 2-3 weeks after the initial tick biteand is often asymptomatic.

  • Initially it causes ‘flu like’ symptoms and a characteristic rash which is known as erythema migrans. There is an outer ring of bright red color and a central area which is clear. Fever may or may not be present.
  • Skin rash is often accompanied by general fatiguemuscle andjoint stiffnessswollen glands and headache.
  • Development of neurological and heart symptoms occurs within 3-6 weeks of primary infection.
  • Neurological symptoms include :
    • Facial muscle paralysis
    • Abnormal sensations
    • Confusion
    • Meningitis
  • Heart symptoms : It can cause inflammation of heart muscles resulting in abnormal heart rhythm and heart failure.
  • Arthritis begins with swelling, stiffness and pain. Usually one or a few joints may be involved, most commonly the knees.
  • Later complications of disease may include polyneuropathy (a disease process involving number of peripheral nerves) and encephalopathy (symptoms referring to any disease of the brain)

 

Investigations

  • Blood test : A blood test called called the Lyme titer shows antibodies to spirochetes, the bacteria that cause the problem.
  • Other tests include
    • IFA (indirect immunofluorescence array) or ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent array),
    • Western Blot test