Changes in smell can be a sign of COVID-19 and Lyme disease

loss-of-smell-covid
Patients with COVID-19 often report changes in smell, including a loss of smell. In fact, an estimated 80% of patients have smell disturbances. “Smell loss is so common in people with the disease that some researchers have recommended its use as a diagnostic test because it may be a more reliable marker than fever or other symptoms,” writes Sutherland in Scientific America. [1]

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Perspective: Lyme disease patients’ mental and physical health in a COVID-19 pandemic

People from around the world are gripped with worry about the COVID-19 pandemic as an increasing number of studies report long-lasting illnesses and mental health problems among some patients. Lyme disease patients can identify, as many express apprehension over their own mental health during the pandemic.

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What are treatments for Lyme disease?

what-are-treatments-for-lyme-disease
As the number of cases grows, knowing what treatments there are for Lyme disease is becoming increasingly important. Unfortunately, there simply isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment protocol for patients infected with Lyme disease and/or co-infections. This is why it’s critical for physicians treating Lyme disease to invest time with patients, thoroughly understand their medical history, and closely monitor symptoms and treatment response. With that in mind, there are currently two different treatment approaches for Lyme disease.

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How long do symptoms of Lyme disease last?

how-long-do-symptoms-of-lyme-disease-last
The symptoms of Lyme disease can last a long time. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates that patients with chronic neurologic Lyme disease were ill for up to 14 years. [1] Two additional studies sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that people with chronic manifestations of Lyme disease were ill an average of 4.7 and 9 years. [2,3]

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COVID-19 long-haulers and Lyme disease patients share similar frustrations

covid-19-lyme-disease
As I was reviewing an opinion article by Pooja Yerramilli, a resident physician in the global medicine/internal medicine program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, I recognized the frustrations expressed by COVID-19 patients, as many of my Lyme disease patients have found themselves in similar situations.

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Unusual risk of blood transfusions: 3 premature babies contract Babesia

risk-of-blood-transfusions
Welcome to an Inside Lyme case study. In this case study, I will be discussing three premature infants who contracted Babesia from their blood transfusions. These cases were described in the Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal written by Glanternik and colleagues in 2017.

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Opinion: Neurologic problems in Lyme disease also seen in COVID-19

neurologic lyme disease patient in hospital
Doctors have been describing neurologic problems in Lyme disease patients for decades. Thirty years ago, Lyme encephalopathy and Lyme neuropathy were discussed in the New England Journal of Medicine. Since then other neurologic problems in Lyme disease have been described including Neuropsychiatric Lyme disease and Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS). Now, patients with COVID-19 are reportedly experiencing neurologic problems.

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Behaviors for the prevention of Lyme disease vary between regions

prevention of lyme disease
Personal protective equipment, commonly referred to as "PPE", have been introduced to minimize exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Personal Protective Measures (PPM) have been introduced to minimize exposure to ticks and assist in the prevention of Lyme disease and other tick-borne illnesses.

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Infections can impact tick behavior and increase survival

tick behavior questing on grass
Researchers have extensively investigated how pathogen infections can affect behavioral traits of insects such as mosquitoes, sand flies and kissing bugs. But, “research on how pathogens can modify tick behavior is patchy,” states the author of a newly published review. [1]

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What does a Lyme disease rash look like?

photos of what does a Lyme disease rash look like look-like
Many people assume that a Bull’s-eye or erythema migrans (EM) rash is a common manifestation of Lyme disease. And that the lack of a rash confirms a person does not have the disease. This is far from the truth. The EM rash can be absent in at least 50% of Lyme disease cases. In fact, a LymeDisease.org survey of 3,000 patients with chronic Lyme disease found that only 40% reported a rash of any kind. Additionally, if present, an EM rash does not always appear as a classic target lesion with a central clearing, according to new study findings. [1]

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