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New Parasite Spreading Lyme Disease

New Parasite Spreading Lyme Disease

Researchers have discovered a new parasite that is spreading Lyme disease. Six people have been infected with Lyme disease by a new bacteria found in ticks called Borrelia mayonii. Previously, the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi was the only culprit known to spread Lyme disease through ticks. The patients showed similar symptoms as those that were infected by Borrelia burgdorferi, but tested negative for Lyme disease when tested. This new bacteria could explain the numerous cases of people experiencing the same symptoms, but testing negative for the disease.

Lyme disease is transmitted by bites from deer ticks, and is usually treatable with antibiotics. However, if left untreated, the disease can spread to the joints, heart, and nervous system, causing serious damage. People infected by the new bacteria experience all of the traditional symptoms such as fever, headache, fatigue, and a telltale “bull’s eye” rash, but also suffer from nausea and vomiting. Luckily, the antibiotics used to treat the original bacteria also appear to be effective against this new bacteria.

Prevention is always the best method of fighting this disease. People should wear long sleeves and pants when spending time outdoors, and cover any exposed skin with insect repellent. Always check thoroughly for ticks when going back indoors, as the chances of being infected are much lower if the tick is removed within 24 to 48 hours.

Do you have to be wary of ticks where you live? What do you do to protect yourself?