Lyme Disease

Discussion in 'Wildlife Diseases' started by anon5709, Mar 10, 2009.

  1. anon5709


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    Hello everyone!!

    I am relatively new to this site and the sport of hunting but have been battling Lyme Disease the past 3 years of my life. Due to the tremendous toll this illness has taken on my life and due to the amount of sportsmen and women I am coming across who do not know much about Lyme Disease or whom have many questions, I have decided to post some basic info. I hope that this information will reach and help at least one person who has or knows of someone who may have been bitten by an infected tick. If I can reach only one person and help them find more info about Lyme, my goal has been met!

    Disclaimer: I am a nurse, but not a doctor!! I am in no way, shape, or form attempting to offer medical advice or diagnose anyone with Lyme Disease or any other disease!!

    Feel free to post a reply or contact me or any other the other resources at the end of this thread if you have any additional questions or have any comments.

    What is Lyme Disease?
    Lyme Disease (abbreviated LD in this thread) is a spirochetal bacterial infection that is thought to be transmitted predominately the bite of the Ixodes Scapularis tick, commonly referred to as the deer tick, as shown here-

    Size of Ticks-

    Other species of ticks, such as the dog tick, wood tick, Lone-star tick, rabbit tick, and biting insects such as deer flies, horse flies, and mosquitoes have been shown to carry the Lyme Disease bacteria. It is important to remember that not all ticks carry the Lyme bacteria.

    Is Lyme Disease a new disease?
    The history of LD is fascinating. It was first recognized in 1976 by doctors at Yale University in Connecticut. There was a cluster of children living in three towns on the coast of Connecticut diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. In 1975, two mothers in Lyme, Connecticut became very suspicious that something else was brewing and brought it to the attention of the CT State Dept. of Health. The researchers found that most of the patients with arthritis lived in heavily wooded areas with the first symptoms beginning in summer. In addition, the disease was not contagious from person to person.

    Curiously, several patients remembered having had a bulls-eye rash before the arthritis began. It turned out that the same round red skin rash, named Erythema Migrans (EM), which is shown here-


    It also became very clear that Lyme Arthritis was actually a more complex illness that not only involved the skin, but also impacted the nerves and heart muscle of both children and adults.

    In 1982, Dr. William Burgdorfer was able to find within the tick the spirochete bacteria that causes LD. Subsequently, the bacteria was named Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb). This discovery was a major step in being able to tie the worldwide picture of LD together as well as becoming the springboard for further research regarding the biology, transmission, treatment, and prevention of this disease.

    Who gets Lyme Disease?
    Anybody can get LD. People who frequent the woods and forest edges such as campers, hikers, outdoor workers, and hunters are generally more likely to come in contact with ticks. However, LD has also become a suburban illness because new home development has encroached on the woodland. Ticks feed on field mice, deer, and other rodents and birds. Domestic animals such as dogs, cats, horses, and cattle can also become host to the ticks. Although these animals are possible carriers on LD, it is not believed that they can transmit the disease directly to humans. What can occur is that pets can bring ticks into our yards and homes, leaving us susceptible to being bitten. Birds, mice, and rodents passing through our yards can also deposit these unwelcome guests near our homes.

    What are the symptoms?
    Lyme disease is thought to occur in three stages, however, they can overlap and not all patients go through all three stages. About 30% of the patients may get the bulls-eye rash. It usually starts at the bite site, but may also appear anywhere on the body. The rash may grow in a circular pattern like a target. Not all Lyme rashes are bulls-eye rashes and many people do not recall having a red rash.

    In some cases, fatigue, fever, chills, headache, stiff neck, muscle/joint aches, or other flu-like symptoms are the first indication of illness. In the weeks, or months following a tick bite, the pain (or weakness) in the joints, muscles, tendons, or bones may become migratory and move to other areas of the body. Temporary heart involvement may cause palpitations or fainting. Severe itching, temperature fluctuations, and vision problems may occur. A multitude of symptoms may come and go, causing doctors to treat only the symptoms and not recognize the overall systemic nature of LD.

    The following symptoms of LD vary on severity or the infection and the amount of time before treatment. You may have some, many, or even different symptoms than listed.

    Eyes or Vision:
    Inflammation of the membranes lining eyelids
    Inflammation of the eye
    Loss of normal papillary reflexes in response to light
    Inflammation of optic nerve
    Abnormal sensitivity to light
    Double vision
    Inflammation of the iris

    Slowed heart rhythm caused by improper conduction of electrical signals in and to the heart
    Inflammation of the heart muscle and/or the membrane surrounding the heart
    Irregular heartbeats
    Enlarged heart
    Fainting, dizziness
    Shortness of breath
    Chest pain (may feel like a heart attack)
    Rapid heartbeat or skipped beats
    A triple cadence in heart sounds caused by an abnormal third or fourth beat

    Painful joints
    Arthritis, inflamed joints
    Inflammation of muscles and/or tendons
    Disease located in the muscles
    A collection of fluid that has escaped the knee joint or a bursa and formed a new sac in an adjacent area

    Paralysis of facial nerve
    Disease of spinal nerve root
    Inflammation of the brain, multiple nerves, spinal cord, and/or arteries in the brain
    Disease of peripheral nerves, and/or nerve networks
    Spasmodic movements of limbs and/or facial muscles
    Loss of muscle coordination caused by disease in the cerebellum of the brain
    Partial paralysis of muscles, and/or Bell’s Palsy
    Headaches ranging from mild to severe
    Stiff neck
    Impairment of normal sensations
    Abnormal sensations: itching, prickling, tingling,
    Sleeping disturbances
    Hearing loss or hypersensitivity to sounds
    Ringing in ears
    Partial paralysis of one side
    Paralysis of lower extremities

    Mood swings
    Poor concentration
    Forgetfulness/ memory loss
    General deterioration
    Loss of appetite

    Other Symptoms:
    Sore throat
    Disease of lymph nodes/ enlarged lymph nodes
    Enlarged spleen
    Enlarged liver
    Testicular swelling
    Abdominal pain
    Menstrual irregularity
    Speech problems

    In some untreated patients, the spirochete will remain inactive and never create any severe problems. However, in other patients, the untreated infection may result in the development of other problems associated with Lyme. Because so many individuals do not get the rash, LD may go undiagnosed.

    LD infection that has gone undetected, or inadequately treated can lead to a chronic state called “late-stage Lyme Disease”. This stage includes debilitation arthritis, bouts of numbness in the limbs, Bell’s palsy, and neurological disorders. Symptoms may go into temporary remission and then recur or be replaced with new symptoms.

    Lyme Disease is often called “The Great Imitator” because it can mimic other diseases, such as Lupus, Lou Gehrig’s Disease/ Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Multiple Sclerosis, or Parkinson’s Disease. LD can present with such an array of symptoms that are often the same as these listed illnesses so those who have been diagnosed with these named illnesses should ask their doctor to confirm that LD is not the cause of their symptoms.

    How is Lyme Disease diagnosed?
    Lyme Disease is a clinical diagnosis, meaning it is based on your clinical symptoms. Perhaps the most serious problem facing Lyme victims is diagnosing the disease. LD mimics so many other illnesses and the pattern of symptoms varies from patient to patient. At present, there are four tests available: the ELISA test (also called the Lyme titer), the Western Blot, Lyme Disease Urine Antigen, and the PCR, but are often unreliable. According to a recent study by the College of American Pathologists, more than 55% of ELISA tests were inaccurate. Of these three, the Western Blot is the most reliable. These tests are to be used in conjunction with symptoms and patient history. Some people test negative but still may have Lyme Disease. Education for you and your physician is a must.

    How can Lyme Disease be treated?
    People with a known tick bit or known EM rash should be given oral antibiotics (abx) early in the disease. They should not wait for symptoms, as they may not show up for some time. Your treatment of oral or IV abx should be discussed with a Lyme literate physician (please contact the Michigan Lyme Disease Association for more info regarding physicians).

    There are over 300 strains of Bb bacteria and unfortunately there is no test to tell us which abx works well for each strain. The Borreliosis bacteria is different from many others because it lives a very long time and has an extremely long generation time. It also may go into periods of latency. There isn’t a test to tell us that your body has rid completely of the Lyme bacteria either. One of the best ways to help your physician is to keep a daily log so he/she may see which abx may or may not be working. It is very important to be treated as soon as possible to prevent the disease from reproducing and becoming a multi-systemic illness.

    Can there be more than one disease from a tick bite?
    Yes, ticks carry other diseases such as Babesia, Erhlichia, Bartonella, Tick Fever, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF). You may or may not get any of these from a tick bite, but on the other hand, you could be infected with more than one bacteria from a tick bite. It is imperative that your doctor look at all of your symptoms and test you for other tick-borne illnesses. Research is ongoing regarding all these diseases and it is best to be educated with this information.

    A malaria-like infection caused by a parasite that targets red blood cells. Symptoms include headache, fever, chills, muscle pain, sweating, and anemia.

    A bacterial infection caused by several types of rickettsiae which invade and kill white blood cells. Symptoms include fever, headache, chills, extreme muscle pain, anemia, decrease in white blood cells, lung infection, elevated liver enzymes, and a rash could occur.

    Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever:
    An infection caused by Rickettsia rickettsii and has been reported throughout North America. Symptoms include headache, chills, flu-like aches and pains, high fever, and a reddish to black rash that looks like measles, starts on the extremities and can spread to the entire body.

    Other tick-borne illnesses in the USA include Colorado Tick Fever, Relapsing Fever, Tick Paralysis, and Tularemia.

    How do you protect yourself from tick-borne diseases?
    There are simple steps to prevention. FIRST be aware of the tick’s habitat: bushes, tall grasses, woods, yards, and wood piles. SECOND, wear appropriate clothing. When temperatures allow, wear long pants and tuck your shirt inside. Pull your socks up over your pant legs and wear good shoes. Light colored clothing makes it easier to spot a tick. The use of an insect repellant containing DEET is helpful. Read the directions on the can very carefully/ Sprays containing Permethrin may be used on clothes only, and must be sprayed and dried before you wear them. THIRD, monitor yourself, children, and pets immediately after coming inside. Inspect clothes, undress and check for ticks. Check all areas by rubbing your hands over the skin. Ticks are very small and you may feel them before you feel them. Remove any attached ticks and save it in a small bottle with the date and the bite’s location. Be alert for early signs and symptoms and watch for signs of a rash for a month or so. Call your physician and record your tick bite. Use tick-control products in your yard, on yourself, and on your pets.

    How should you remove a tick?
    Proper tick removal is ESSENTIAL. Use fine-point tweezers to grasp the tick as close to your skin as possible. DO NOT squeeze the tick’s body. Grasp it where it’s mouthparts enter the skin and tug gently but firmly and repeat as necessary until it releases it’s hold. Take your time and be patient. Pull it straight out. DO NOT squeeze the ticks body. Wipe the bite area thoroughly with an antiseptic. Save the tick in a covered bottle. Record the date and location where you were bitten. This facilitates testing at a later date. Your doctor may find this information and the tick specimen helpful in diagnosis if a rash or other symptoms of Lyme Disease subsequently appear.


    You can also send the tick to the to have it tested for LD. You can find more info on this here:,1607,7-125-1566_2403_2421-44271--,00.html

    Links for more information:


    Michigan Lyme Disease Association Support Groups
    Berrien County
    Phone Support
    Elizabeth Marvin

    Meets 2nd Thursday of the month at 7:00pm
    Clio Senior Center
    2136 W. Vienna St.

    Clio, MI
    Mary Fairweather
    Phone: 810-686-9383

    Livingston County
    Phone Support
    Bev Grunheid

    Lenawee County
    Meets 2nd Monday of Month at 7:00pm
    At First Church of Nazarene
    50 Industrial Drive. Adrian MI
    Chris Emery
    Phone: 517-265-5712

    Western Wayne County
    Phone Support
    Connie Siese
    Phone: 734-326-3502

    North Oakland County
    Phone Support Iris Ishman
    Phone: 248-625-8747

    Ann Arbor
    Phone Support
    Neal & Meredith Foster
    Phone: 734-663-0756

    Oakland/Macomb/St. Clair County
    Meets 1st Monday of Month at 7:00pm
    Church of Christ in Roseville
    17415 11 Mile Road (I696 & Gratiot)
    Amy Holloway
    Phone: 888-784-5963

    Blue Water Area
    Meets 2rd Thursday of Month at 7pm
    Acheson Community Resoure Center
    514 McMorran Boulevard (Downtown Port Huron).
    Hillary M.
    Phone: 810-987-6415

    Grand Rapids
    Phone Support
    Gretchen Meyer
    Email: Gretehen
    Phone: 616-583-0549

    AGAIN, my goal is to only help educate others about Lyme Disease. If you have more questions, please post them or contact me and I will try to find you the answers or someone who can.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2009
    Anish likes this.
  2. steve1983


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    good post amy....i hope people read and learn

  3. salmo'dog


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    Job well done Amy! I didn't know quite that much about the disease and hopefully your message does reach others in the battle against LD. On the other hand, think of how many people in the forums that you will educate on LD. Again, awsome job.
  4. twohats


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    Southgate, Mich.
    Thanks Amy. I think I will get tested again, sence its hard to diagn. Many moons ago I shot a buck in the Up. When we were skinning it we found that it was covered in ticks. Well, I ended up with a bullseye rash on my neck. Realy didnt think much of it. Now years latter I suffer from arthrites, and joint pain in my hands and shoulders as well as fatigue and stiff neck. After reading this information I am going to ask to be re tested with the western blot test which your write up states as being the most acurate. Maybe I do have lyme or I am just getting old.

    Thanks again for the info.


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    Nasty sickness and tough to get rid of. I dated a girl who had LD and it really took a toll on her. Great post! Maybe this should be a sticky since the warm weather is coming on soon. Good luck with everything Amy and thanks for the info.

  6. anon5709


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    Thanks guys! Like I said, educating others about Lyme is something I am VERY passionate about! I can not thank those who were there to help me learn more and offer support while I was at my lowest points and can only "pay it forward" now that I am feeling somewhat better. Seeing the responses you have left and the PM's I have already received after only a few short hours definately makes my hard work more than worth while!!

    Twohats- I sent you a PM. If you have had a bulls-eye rash, research shows that you will most likely have Lyme. The bulls-eye rash is the most definite sign there is. IE. You have the rash, you have LD. Many people (as in my case) do not recall getting the rash and spend years trying to diagnose what is going on. Please contact Linda Lobes at the Michigan Lyme Disease Association at 1-888-784-LYME(5963). She will mail you out a great packet of info and will also get you a list of LLMD's (Lyme Literate docs) who can and will adequately treat you for Lyme. Also, the MLDA has a online support group on yahoo groups that you can check out, I will send you the link! Take care and best wishes!! Keep me posted along the way!

    Merganzer- "nasty sickness and tough to get rid of" are a great way to describe LD!! It definitely does take a toll on your life.... I am 26 years old, went from playing ice hockey 2-3 times a week to where I could not even carry my hockey bag of equipment up the stairs and some days could not even get out of bed and I didn't have it nearly as bad as some do. All in all, I have been on a medical leave (off and on) more more than 14 months from my job at a local hospital because being on my feet for 12+ hours a day took so much out of me. I had a PICC line in my arm for 5+ months and gave myself IV antibiotics 2 times a day... but I can only thank God for pulling me through this and this all has given me a lot different perspective on a lot of things in my life!! One of these days I will post "my story".... now back to bed I go, start working midnights tonight!!!
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2009

    QDMAMAN Premium Member

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    Vermontville Michigan
    Good info Amy!
    What's your take on the guy that shot the preacher this weekend and is claiming he's nuts due to LD?

    Big T
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2015


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    Farm Country Eaton County. Go Eagles!
    Way to get the awareness out Amy. ;)

    You may have answered many of peoples ailments. Maybe its not because we're growing older, our bodies are sore, tired, all the aches and pains, etc, maybe its LD!
  9. onenationhere


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    WOW! nice post,thanks for that.
  10. Munsterlndr

    Munsterlndr Cereal Baiter Premium Member

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    Traverse City
    Lyme disease is one of the more compelling biological reasons that it's time to become serious about reducing deer populations in the SLP, especially in urban and suburban settings. There is a direct correlation between the size of deer populations and the incidence of Lyme disease, if the DNR and hunters do not step up to the plate and remedy the over populated herds in some areas, there is an increasing potential for the non-hunting public to advocate for solutions that are not based on recreational hunting.
  11. anon5709


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    Big T-
    I am not really sure what to think about the man who had Lyme and killed the preacher. I am not going to say "no, he's just trying to pull a "get out ot jail card" because I can tell you from my own experiences that I DID have mental changes and I do not feel as though my case of Lyme was nearly as bad as many are. In my case, I was noticing that I could not concentrate during class, I had REALLY bad short-term memory loss, and my equilibrium was all off, I would trip and stumble over things, bump into tables... and NO I WAS NOT DRUNK!! ;) I went to see a neurologist and everything, had a MRI & MRA done on my brain, and although they noticed a few small lesions, nothing really came of it.

    Is it possible it was due to the Lyme, maybe... it's kind of like asking if someone who kills someone is insane... :dizzy:

    Yea, there definately needs to be something done in regards to Lyme, but unfortnately our state likes to "down play" the Lyme problem we have here and keep it "hush, hush" so I am not sure that will come anytime soon unfortnately.
  12. portagelaker

    portagelaker Banned

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    Great post.

    This disease scares the heck out of me. There is a family that lives in a heavily wooded lot adjacent to my families. They have a son, who I'm guessing is around 20 now. In his early high school years, he was an excellent athlete, and good at school. He was bitten by a tick, and got the disease. It is unbelievable how much it changed him. It made him a different person, unable to function as an adult on his own. He is now "special needs", and will have to be cared for for the rest of his life. It breaks my heart to see him outside, and wittness the worst case scenario that this disease has to offer.

    Best of luck.
  13. Fishalot


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    East Lansing
    Good info here Amy. Thanks for taking the time to post it.
  14. firenut8190


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    My now 14 y/o son was bitten last spring 08 turkey. His grandmother found the tick enbedded on his head under all of his hair. She pulled it out but did not save it. We made a Dr. appt. and 2 weeks later he was dianos. with LD. They put him on oral antibiodicts. The Dr. said we did the right thing and not wait to get him tested. She stated with the antib. It will make it go into a dormit stage and should have little to no effects on him. Time will tell.
  15. anon5709


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    Portage- Thanks a bunch for sharing the info about your neighbor!! This is the exact reason I posted, to help educate more people, especially sportsmen!!

    Firenut- Thanks for sharing your son's story If you wouldn't mind sharing, what county was your son in when he got bit? I hope he does not have too rough of a battle. Good luck and thanks again for sharing!!
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2009