Borrelia burgdorferi, the cause of Lyme Disease
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Does the tick get sick?

While it is evident that Borrelia burgdorferi can cause immense problems within the human body, some may wonder if B. burgdorferi affects the tick and its other hosts.  Obviously, we know that it causes human harm because we can communicate what we feel to one another; however, it is more difficult to judge if a tick is actually "feeling sick."   Presently, there isn't much evidence to depict that B. burgdorferi greatly inhibits the lifestyle of a tick.  However, it is thought that at one time in history, B. burgdorferi negatively affected Ixodid ticks possibly threatening their survival.  Through the idea of evolution, it's thought that Ixodid ticks have developed a general tolerance for B. burgdorferi. When tested in the lab, some organs and joints seem to be affected by large quantities of B. burgdorferi.  Nevertheless, it is not proven that this occurs in nature.  It is evident that ticks are tolerant to B. burgdorferi and remain successful with the bacterium residing within.  As for the other hosts, such as white-footed mice and white-tailed deer, it is thought that they as well have developed a tolerance for B. burgdorferi; yet there is some evidence to suggest that this bacterium can cause similar symptoms in animals that humans experience with Lyme Disease (Karlen, A., 2000)

Lyme disease originated in Lyme, CT ... I THINK NOT!

Contrary to the common misunderstanding, Lyme Disease DID NOT originate in Lyme, Connecticut.  Rather in the early 1900s, Lyme disease was originally called "erythema migrans" and was characterized with a ring-like rash that was thought to be not dangerous to one's overall health.  However, soon after World War II, cases of erythema migrans involving human infection gained attention, especially in Europe (Ginsberg, H. 1993).  The first reported United States case of this disease was in 1969 in Wisconsin.   With further research, Dr. Willy Burgdorfer found lightly stained spirochetes residing in the fluid of ticks he was studying.  In essence, he discovered the cause of Lyme Disease, Borrelia burgdorferi which was named after him in his honor.  Advanced research has addressed the symptoms and vaccine options for Lyme Disease.  Lyme disease was eventually named for a town called Lyme, Connecticut where a group of children contracted arthritis caused by B. burgdorferi ; however, like previously stated, the disease was previously known under a different name and the bacterium did not originate there. 

Symptoms of Lyme disease:

After being bit by a tick infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, the following symptoms can result:

  •  a ring-like red rash known as erythema migrans  
  •  flu-like symptoms such as a headache, muscle aches, a fever, and fatigue

If the disease proceeds long enough, major problems can result such as:

  •  nervous system problems
  •  sleeping problems
  •  irregular heart beats or chest pain
  •  unordinary vision changes
  •  joint and muscle pain
  •  and many more severe problems

For more information about the symptoms of Lyme disease visit the Lyme Disease Foundation, Inc.