Lyme Disease Treatment and Transmission

Lyme Disease Treatment

ILADS Guidelines; Burrascano’s Guidelines
  • Treatment is most successful if begun promptly.
  • Do not wait for test results, which are usually negative early in the illness.
  • Lyme disease is a bacterial infection treated with antibiotics.
  • Doxycycline is the usual treatment for adults.
  • Children are often given amoxicillin.
  • If people get a high fever, there could be a coinfection with ehrlichiosis or spotted fever, in which case the CDC recommends doxycycline, even to children.
  • Lyme disease specialists recommend at least 4 to 6 weeks of treatment.
  • Dr. Burrascano recommends treatment for at least 4 weeks after all symptoms are gone, to prevent a relapse.
  • If the disease is not treated promptly and adequately in the early stage, the disease can become chronic.
  • Chronic Lyme disease may require years of antibiotics, changing to different antibiotics from time to time.
  • People who have neurological symptoms or who don’t respond to oral treatment may benefit from months or even a year or more of IV treatment.
  • A healthy diet and vitamins & supplements are helpful.

Lyme Disease Transmission

  • Not transmitted via casual contact.
  • Usually transmitted by a tick bite.
  • Can be transmitted through bites by fleas, horseflies, deer flies, and occasionally mosquitoes.
  • Can pass through the placenta to an unborn baby if a pregnant mother has Lyme disease.
  • Has been found in tears, sweat, semen, vaginal fluid, and stored blood.
  • Possibly sexually transmitted; research is needed.
  • Can survive in stored blood. We don’t yet know whether it is being transmitted via blood transfusion.
  • People with Lyme disease should not donate blood or organs.

Lyme disease Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb) bacteria have been found in:

blacklegged ticks          brown dog ticks       fleas
lone star ticks                horse flies                  mites
American dog ticks      deer flies                   mosquitoes*
wood ticks   

* A study found that a mosquito did transmit Lyme disease bacteria to a hamster. Some people have been diagnosed with Lyme disease after a mosquito bite.

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