What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is the most widespread pathology that spreads in temperate geographical areas. The nervous system, the skin, joints, and internal organs can be affected by this infection. This disease is transmitted to man through the sting of hard ticks of the genus Ixodes and perhaps also by amblyomma americanum and dermacentor variabilis (dog ticks). This disease can lead to serious and persistent symptoms and it may become chronic if it is not treated properly.
What are the main symptoms?
The first symptoms of the disease are periodic and changeable. The disease typically begins in the summer and a red spot slowly expands at the first stage. Within a few weeks, early neurological disorders such as migratory or transient arthralgias, myalgia, meningitis, polyneuropathy, and borrelial lymphocytoma may develop. The symptoms can fluctuate and last for months.
After months or years after being infected, the last phase of the disease is characterized by alterations in a number of systems such as the musculoskeletal system, the central and peripheral nervous system, and the cardiovascular system.
Since laboratory tests are not always able to definitively confirm or rule out the disease, the decision to start antibiotic treatment should be taken on the basis of clinical diagnosis and epidemiological data.
A difficult diagnosis
Lyme disease involves the skin, the central nervous system, the heart, joints, and the eye. However, the clinical symptoms of 95% of cases are in the form of cutaneous conditions. In Turkey, the most evident clinical sign is the erythema migran which is a sort of reddish macula, that is often found on the thighs or in the area of the groin and armpits. It is in the form of central lesion which gradually widens. Erythema migran may be accompanied by some symptoms such as fever, chills, and joint pain.
Unfortunately, the body’s response to the bacteria develops late, raising a major diagnostic problem. In fact, there are no fully reliable laboratory tools for diagnosis. The serological diagnosis is carried out through the identification, by ELISA method, of the IgM or IgG anti-Borrelia antibodies. The ELISA test has an excellent analytical sensitivity because it has the ability to correctly identify sick subjects. It is necessary to combine laboratory and clinical data.
What are the effective treatments in Turkey and Istanbul?
With regard to the treatment of Lyme disease, it is necessary to comply with the clinical and laboratory criteria suggested by the best doctors in Turkey. The first antibiotic of choice is doxycycline, which can be effectively administered in men, non-pregnant women and children over 8 years old.
When your doctor looks at erythema migran, he/she suggests starting with an antibiotic therapy that involves the use of tetracyclines in skin and less severe neurological forms. The use of penicillin or ceftriaxone is recommended in critical conditions.
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