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Lyme Disease Tick Bite

Written by Dr. Diane Mueller

Lets talk about getting a Lyme Disease Tick Bite. These sorts of bites are important to take seriously as left untreated, they can lead to a whole host of disease processes and symptoms. In this article we will discuss what to do if you get a lyme disease tick bite. If you are looking for a Lyme Literate Doctor to help you with your Lyme Disease concerns, you can visit our main page HERE.

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Now, let’s talk about Lyme Disease tick bites.

Initial research made the medical community take the initial stance that ticks had to be attached for many hours, sometimes even 1-2 days before transmission of Lyme Disease. More recent research has challenged this original
understanding. Current data is showing that as little as 4 hours of attachment may be all that is needed to transmit the bacteria Borrelia Burgdorferi, which causes Lyme Disease. [i]

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In addition to this, we now know that it is in the later stages of feeding on human hosts that typically is correlated with disease transmission. This is part of the reason why the medical community once thought that ticks needed to be attached for large amounts of time in order to infect humans. We now understand that ticks can have multiple back to back hosts. For example, if a tick feeds on one human host for some hours and falls off but quickly finds a second human host, the second host could have a very short time before Lyme disease is transmitted because the tick is actually late into its feeding cycle at that time.

 There is indeed a higher rate of transmission the longer the tick is attached to the host, but the ability of ticks to have back to back hosts greatly changes our medical understanding of how long a tick needs to be attached before transmitting disease.

What this means to you:

 If you have been bitten by a tick, you absolutely want to pull it off as soon as possible. You can also read our blog on Lyme Disease Timeline to learn more about this. Just because you find a tick and remove it early, you do not want to assume that you do not have Lyme Disease. In any case of finding a tick, when you remove it, send it to tick analysis centers such as tick report and ticknology. These sorts of testing centers can test the tick to see if there is Lyme Disease (or other diseases) present within the tick. If the tick does have diseases, it is worth considering treating for the transmission of these diseases right away. This is because many of these tick-borne diseases can lay dormant for years. Some people do have early signs of Lyme Disease such as a rash, fever and joint pain. But for others, they are completely asymptomatic at early infection. The disease lays dormant for years and then can manifest as later symptoms which may be neurological, cardiac or cognitive dysfunction, sometimes months or even decades down the line. Many times when Lyme disease manifests later in life, people do not even consider that symptoms could be due to a tick bite they had a long time ago.

 Therefore, it is best to either test any tick that bit you to see if it has Lyme Disease or to just assume you likely have it and get appropriate testing done. See our blog called Lyme Disease Test to learn more about testing. There are many problems with the standard Lyme Disease tests so you want to make sure that you have proper testing done to truly rule in or out the possibilities of this disease

You can learn more about Lyme Disease and the impact of Lyme Disease tick bites in our other articles below:

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[i] Stephanie Richards, Ricky Langley, Charles Apperson, and Elizabeth Watson, “Do Tick Attachment Times Vary between Different Tick-Pathogen Systems?,” Environments no. 2 (September 2017): 37, doi:10.3390/ environments4020037.

Ebel GD, Kramer LD. Short report: duration of tick attachment required for transmission of powassan virus by deer ticks. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2004;71(3):268-271.

Chien-Ming Shih and Andrew Spielman. “Accelerated Transmission of Lyme Disease Spirochetes by Partially Fed Vector Ticks,” Journal of Clinical Microbiology 31, no. 11 (November 1993): 2878–81.


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