Lyme disease has been noted to be the most reported vector-borne infection in the United States by the CDC, giving rise to about 300,000 cases a year.
Humans acquire vector-borne illnesses from infected insects or ticks, which carry the microorganisms (bacteria, virus, or parasite) that cause the infection. For example, Lyme disease arises from the bite of a blacklegged tick infected with the bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi. Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) is another example of a vector/tick-borne disease where Rickettsia rickettsii is spread by a number of different ticks (American dog tick, Rocky mountain wood tick, brown dog tick). RMSF can be fatal if not treated rapidly. An example of a viral tickborne infection is one caused by the Powassan virus spread by the deer tick, resulting in 10-15% fatal cases.
The focus of Lyme & Tickborne Disease tests is to identify the harmful microorganism quickly to facilitate treatment as soon as possible. Initial general symptoms patients with a possible tickborne infection may present with include fever, muscle aches and pains, headache and nausea. Certain tickborned illnesses such as Lyme disease, RMSF, ehrlichiosis, and tularemia may also incur rashes.
Lyme & tickborne disease tests usually analyze a blood or urine sample for the presence of specific microorganisms. Various testing panels are available through Rupa Health and include:
A physical examination, health history, tick exposure history, and list of symptoms is helpful as a starting point to choosing the lyme & tickborne disease test to order. In some cases, additional CSF testing may be required for Lyme disease. Once identified, treatment with an antibiotic can be initiated if the microorganism is bacterial.
Being proactive and taking action to prevent a tick bite as much as possible is best care.
When outside, know where ticks are usually found, and avoid those areas and tall grasses if possible.
When returning inside, change clothing and shower, check vulnerable body areas such as hair, around ears, under the arms, between the legs. If you have had a pet out with you, make sure to check them carefully as well.
Treatment plans can include: