All Things Lyme – top 15 blogs for 2016

As another year comes to a close, we share with you the most popular blogs for 2016 from our All Things Lyme blog series. Throughout the year, dozens of studies, published in leading scientific journals, continued to demonstrate the potential seriousness of Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases when left untreated or improperly treated. The ramifications for patients can be life-altering.

by Daniel J. Cameron, MD MPH

1. Growing list of eye problems in Lyme disease

Ophthalmic manifestations of tick-borne diseases are increasing. And, “although ocular involvement can be self-limited, delays in diagnosis may result in vision impairment and even blindness,” stated Sathiamoorthi from the Mayo Clinic.

2. Study raises concerns for Babesia patients and blood banks

Babesiosis, an emerging tick-borne disease caused by the parasite Babesia microti, is currently the highest ranked pathogen transmitted by blood transfusions.

3. Lyme meningitis, manifesting as Parkinsonism, is fully reversed with ceftriaxone

According to the authors, this is the first reported case of Lyme meningitis “presenting with symptoms suggestive of rapidly progressing Parkinsonism.”

4. Should Lyme disease be added to the causes of vocal cord paralysis?

Lyme disease is one of several causes of vocal cord paralysis, a condition that can dramatically impact patients’ lives, affecting voice, swallowing and airway function.

5. Women with chronic Lyme disease may suffer from a severe immune response triggered by the disease

Women with chronic manifestations of Lyme disease are often told they suffer from a variety of other illnesses including depression, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome or unexplained medical symptoms.

6. Watch and wait approach does not work for Lyme disease

Two leading research groups describe the dangers in taking the watch and wait approach to Lyme disease.

7. What is that smell?

Studies examining impaired or heightened sense of smell have been focused primarily on patients suffering from neurological disorders. And while there have been many anecdotal reports from Lyme disease patients complaining about their sensitivity to smells, there has never been a study examining the association between Lyme disease and hyperosmia — until now.

8. Tick-borne co-infections are the norm, not the exception

Over the past two decades, the number of disease-causing agents carried by ticks and the severity of illness that can result has led to calls for more aggressive tick bite prevention efforts and research of co-infections.

9. What might sudden cardiac death due to Lyme disease look like?

“Although rare, sudden cardiac death caused by Lyme disease might be an under-recognized entity,” according to researchers who describe their findings from an autopsy study on 5 case patients who died from sudden cardiac death and were found post mortem to have Lyme carditis.

10. Level with Lyme disease patients, at least 1 in 3 can fail treatment

Lyme disease patients are frequently reassured that the standard 21- to 30-day course of antibiotics will effectively treat the infection. This gives patients a false sense of security about a disease that is leaving thousands of individuals chronically ill.

11. Study demonstrates further evidence larval ticks may be a threat to humans

In the Netherlands, a significant number of patients with Lyme borreliosis do not recall being bitten by a tick. It is estimated that 1.1 million people in the Netherlands are bitten by one or more ticks annually and that larvae are responsible for 1.3% to 4.2% of those tick bites.

12. Different response by CDC to spread of Zika virus vs. Lyme disease-carrying ticks

Although Lyme disease and the Zika virus are transmitted by different types of vectors, both illnesses can cause severe, long-term health damage and are of enormous concern to the general public. The response by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to each threat, however, has been decidedly different.

13. Cognitive issues following a stroke due to Lyme disease

A case report by Almoussa and colleagues demonstrates that the infectious agent Borrelia burgdorferi can trigger cognitive impairments. The authors describe a 43-year-old patient from Germany who suffered a stroke due to Lyme disease and continued to have cognitive issues despite treatment.

14. Limits on antibiotics for Lyme disease leave doctors in limbo

Physicians have long been advised to stick to a fixed treatment duration when prescribing antibiotics for Lyme disease. But a growing number of clinicians are finding that patients remain sick or experience a new onset of symptoms once treatment ends.

15. Time to designate Lyme disease as a pandemic?

Lyme disease is typically referred to as an endemic problem. Is it time to designate it as a pandemic? The disease clearly meets the criteria.

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