Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by a tick. Lyme disease was first recognized in 1975, after researchers investigated why unusually large numbers of children were being diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in Lyme, Connecticut, and two neighboring towns. The investigators discovered that most of the affected children lived near wooded areas likely to harbor ticks. They also found that the children’s first symptoms typically started in the summer months coinciding with the height of the tick season. Several of the patients reported having a peculiar skin rash just before developing arthritis symptoms, and many also recalled being bitten by a tick at the rash site. Further investigations resulted in the discovery that tiny deer ticks infected with a spiral-shaped bacterium or spirochete (which was later named Borrelia burgdorferi) were responsible for the outbreak of arthritis in Lyme. Ordinary «wood ticks» and «dog ticks» do not carry the infection.
The ticks most commonly infected with B. burgdorferi usually feed and mate on deer during part of their life cycle. The recent growth of the deer population in the northeast and the building of suburban developments in rural areas where deer ticks are commonly found have probably contributed to the increasing number of people with the disease. The number of reported cases of Lyme disease, as well as the number of geographic areas in which it is found, has been increasing. Lyme disease has been reported in nearly all states in this country, although most cases are concentrated in the coastal northeast, Mid-Atlantic States, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, and northern California. Lyme disease is also found in large areas of Asia and Europe. Recent reports suggest that it is present in South America, too.
In the early stages of Lyme disease, you may experience flu-like symptoms that can include a stiff neck, chills, fever, swollen lymph nodes, headaches, fatigue, muscle aches, and joint pain. You also may experience a large, expanding skin rash around the area of the tick bite. In more advanced disease, nerve problems and arthritis, especially in the knees, may occur. Lyme disease imitates a variety of illnesses and its severity can vary from person to person. If you have been bitten by a tick and live in an area known to have Lyme disease, see your doctor right away so that a proper diagnosis can be made and treatment started.
Lyme Disease Association, Inc. (LDA)
Description: The Lyme Disease Association, Inc. (LDA) mission is promoting awareness of and controlling the spread of Lyme and other tick-borne diseases (TBD) and their complications through education and other means; raising and distributing funds for Lyme and tick-borne diseases (TBD) research, education and other related Lyme and TBD issues; assisting underprivileged patients in connection with Lyme and other TBD.
International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS)
Description: The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) promotes understanding of Lyme and its associated diseases and strongly supports physicians and other health care professionals dedicated to advancing the standard of care for Lyme and its associated diseases.
Some forums require you to sign in to Yahoo or Facebook to locate forum names.
Forum/Blog Name: ACN Latitudes PANS and Lyme Support Group
Description: Association for Comprehensive Neurotherapy (ACN) latitudes parent forum. This forum has combined discussions for Lyme and PANDAS into one group.
Forum/Blog Name: Lyme Disease Awareness: Public Group
Description: This Facebook group provides support and networking opportunities for those with Lyme disease and their loved ones.
Forum/Blog Name: Lyme Net Support Group
Description: A listing of Lyme Disease support groups by region, nationally and internationally.
Forum/Blog Name: Children’s Lyme Disease Network
Description: The Children’s Lyme Disease Network’s mission is to promote awareness and provide educational outreach to parents, caregivers, health care providers, and organizations that interact regularly with children, particularly those in the age group most at-risk of becoming infected.