The number of Lyme disease cases reported each year has steadily increased since 1991. In 2006, nearly 20,000 cases of Lyme disease were reported, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lyme disease starts with a rash and if not treated, can hurt the nervous system. This guide helps you learn its causes and symptoms. Read how Lyme disease is treated, get the latest research and learn where to find support.
Some types of ticks, such as the deer and black-legged variety, carry a spirochete that can be transferred to humans through the tick bite. The first symptom of the spirochete’s infection is typically a red rash that forms a bull’s eye pattern around the bite, or red spots, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Use this section of the guide to learn what Lyme disease is and how it’s transmitted in humans and animals.
- A number of Lyme disease sites recommend the book “Cure Unknown” by Pamela Weintraub, about her family’s ordeal in being diagnosed and treated for Lyme. The blog A Lyme Disease Journal called it “comprehensive, balanced, and informative.”
has an interactive tutorial on Lyme disease that explains what the disease is, its symptoms and how it’s diagnosed. The presentation is also available in a PDF
. Also look for a brief overview of chronic Lyme disease
, which “occurs months to years after the initial infection with Lyme disease,” according to the site.
has a Lyme disease overview for children that describes the cause, symptoms, where to find ticks and how to prevent the disease.
The Rhode Island Department of Health
has a brief overview of Lyme disease in dogs, cats, cattle and horses. This page includes symptoms, treatment and tips to preventing Lyme disease in animals.
Catching Lyme disease early is important for successfully treating it. Depending on the source, Lyme is either an extremely easy-to-treat or enormously complex disease. This section of the guide helps you learn the symptoms of Lyme disease and how it is treated, and shows you where to find clinical trials.
- A common abbreviation online is LLMD, which means “Lyme Literate Medical Doctor.” Lyme literate means the doctor has learned more about the disease. A recurring complaint online among those with Lyme is that most doctors don’t understand chronic Lyme or how to treat it.
The Mayo Clinic
describes common and less well-known Lyme disease symptoms, including a rash and eye inflammation.
For diagnosis and treatment…
, a clearinghouse operated by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, provides a list of research clinical trials currently underway to test experimental treatments for Lyme disease. To learn more about clinical trials, speak to your doctor, and read the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's guide
On the Web, some people are chronicling their struggle with Lyme disease on blogs. Use this section to find face-to-face support groups and read about other people’s experiences with Lyme.
- Support sites, forums, message boards and chat rooms can all be used as support outlets. Moderated Web sites are usually run by volunteers who are familiar with the particular issue and can ensure that the conversations stay on track. Un-moderated boards can be useful, but beware that there may be people with an agenda different from yours. Always use caution when chatting on the Web.
The Lyme Disease Network
has a list of support groups, organized by state. Every state but Washington and Rhode Island had groups at the time of this writing.
For other people’s experiences …
Linda’s Lyme Disease Journal
is a blog written by Linda Marcille, a woman with advanced neurological Lyme disease. Read about her struggle with the disease as she tries to raise awareness about the disease and the need for more research.
, the author, has advanced Lyme disease. She wrote about her experience in suffering the symptoms and trying to find treatment.
Visit the sites below for news on Lyme disease and Lyme disease research studies.
- Some sites (PubMed, for example) either post or help you find abstracts (short summaries) of articles from professional journals. The full-length articles are only available to the paid subscribers of the journals. The abstracts, however, do give a good sense of the studies and their findings.
- Note that not all of these sites are updated daily; it depends on what is going on in the Lyme disease world.
is a news aggregator with a page of stories from around the world involving Lyme disease. You’ll find more than just research stories here. Read about how the disease is spreading, people who live with it and articles on how to avoid the disease.
has articles about Lyme disease research and discoveries. There isn’t news about Lyme disease every day but when research is published, you’ll be able to read about it here.
, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, is a repository of biomedical and life sciences journal articles. Search for articles by topic, journal title or author using the search tool at the top of the page. Once you’ve searched a topic, use the tab under the display options to read articles that are free to access.
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