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Author Topic: Lyme Disease Question
aka
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My mother got one of those huge hard target shaped bite sores that indicates a bite by a Lyme disease infected deer tick. She didn't know what it was at the time, but asked her doctor about it (after the fact, after it had gone away) and he said don't worry about it. I am not sure Mama described it accurately, or else why would this doctor dismiss it? Her description to me matched exactly the symptoms I've read about. I told her she needed to get antibiotics to keep from developing Lyme disease. I told her she needed to not accept the dismissal from her doctor, but to dig deeper and ask again, or find someone else who will treat her if he won't.

She agreed that she would do that, but it's been several months now and I happened to ask her recently what she ended up doing and her answer was nothing. [Frown]

I'm worried about this. Mom is 73 and has mild diabetes (with some neuropathy -- her feet are totally numb), osteo-arthritis, and fibromyalgia. Lyme disease is the last thing she needs on top of this. Yet I have read that if you don't catch this early, it can be quite intractible.

What should she do now, several months after the fact? I'm going to just take over and make whatever appointment she needs and tell her when it is and go get her and take her to the doctor. But I need to know what can be done now. Is it too late? Do we have to just wait now until she gets symptoms?

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Suneun
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where does she live?
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Suneun
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Tentatively, I'm going to say that if the bite rash went away pretty quickly, then it's less likely to be lyme disease. One of the characteristics of lyme disease bite is that the redness moves over time away from the original bite. It's not suppposed to be painful or itchy. eMedicine says that the target-shape is actually not as common as a red patch, though the target-shape can be found more in europe.

Also looks like it's a pain in the arse to test for.

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ak
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Alabama
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Suneun
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I know this doesn't say anything about individual cases, but maybe this map will make you feel better about the chances of her having lyme disease.

As long as she hasn't had any new symptoms, I can't imagine that the doctors will be able to do much about it. A real doctor should correct me on this =), but eMedicine says that the available tests have low sensitivity and low specificity.

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Elizabeth
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There is also Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever(???) which you can get from ticks. We were just at a tick-infested music fest.

Please have her get the Lyme Disease test asap just to be sure.

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Suneun
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Just to clarify:
quote:
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is concerned about the potential for misdiagnosis of Lyme disease based on the results of commonly marketed tests for detecting antibodies to Borrelia burgdorferi, the organism that causes Lyme disease. It is important that clinicians understand that a positive test result does not necessarily indicate current infection with B. burgdorferi, and a patient with active Lyme disease may have a negative test result. (1-5)

The tests should be used only to support a clinical diagnosis of Lyme disease and should never be the primary basis for making diagnostic or treatment decisions. Diagnosis should be based on a patient history, which includes symptoms and exposure to the tick vector and physical findings. The most definitive diagnostic procedure is biopsy and isolation of B. burgdorferi in culture.
...
Because assays for anti-Bb should be used only for supporting a clinical diagnosis of Lyme disease and not for "screening" asymptomatic individuals, the result of the first-step assay is best described as "initial" rather than "screening." Likewise, the second-step Western-blot assay is best described as "supplemental" rather than "confirmatory", because of the low specificity for detecting IgM anti-Bb.

that's from the fda. So,... don't get upset if the doctor tells her that testing is unwarranted.
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ak
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Shouldn't she have a course of antibiotics just in case?
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Suneun
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Wasn't it the wrong time for tick season anyhow? "tick season" is May through September.

I'd make sure she keeps track of any unusual symptoms, or can remember any unusual symptoms (fatigue, fever for unknown reasons, for example).

Giving out antibiotics starts a whole new topic on whether or not antibiotics should be given out in these situations. Antibiotics are becoming less and less effective due to over prescription and poor compliance.

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ak
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