Lyme disease or Lyme borreliosis, also called SIMS (multi-systemic infectious syndrome) is a bacterial infectious disease primarily transmitted by tick bites: infected ticks regurgitate pathogens in the bloodstream.
At the primary stage, the infection is usually manifested by the presence of erythema migrans (red skin rash) around the tick bite marks. The secondary stage is marked by neurological and rheumatological manifestations that make diagnosis difficult because they evoke other complex pathologies. Although imperceptible at first, the disease becomes chronic and multisystemic with muscular, vascular, joint, neurological or skin manifestations.
The body injected in the blood, a bacterium such as "Borrelia" part of the "spirochetes" (spiral-shaped) family can infiltrate every organ, every tissue of the body, including bones, and all systems (including the nervous system and brain), leading to a wide range of serious injuries that cause unbearable pain, paralysis, chronic fatigue overwhelming, neurological and psychiatric disorders. An undiagnosed Lyme disease can be confused with all sorts of other diseases, including mental illness: it is a serious disease that should not be underestimated. By causing immune dysfunction, the Borrelia enables the onset of many co-infections (babesiosis, rickettsial disease, various viral diseases, etc.) some of which are little known. At some stage, it is necessary to consider and treat each co-infection, and this is what makes a complete and permanent cure yet difficult.
The spirochete uses specific mechanisms, mainly inflammation to destroy collagen tissues of the body and produce the nutrients necessary for its survival. Where this destruction takes place will determine the symptoms in person. If it's in the joints, arthritis is present and is called Lyme arthritis. In the meninges, we are dealing with a neurological or Lyme neuroborreliosis. In the brain, the disease worsens: the bacteria and the toxins it produces can pass the blood-brain barrier that separates blood from the fluid surrounding the brain and which is normally used to protect the brain from pathogens or toxicity. In the heart, Lyme carditis is present. Involvement of the skin and mucous membranes, including internal mucous membranes such as the intestinal mucosa, can cause Acrodermatitis Chronicle Atrophinate (ACA).
The specificity of Lyme disease in its chronic form is that it appears to be the cause of many diseases or disorders that cause or mimic it such as: chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis , rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease), ankylosing spondylitis, autism, progressive supranuclear palsy, polyneuropathy, lupus, the bi-polar disorders, schizophrenic disorders, neurological disorders, thyroid disorders, hormonal imbalances, ACA (mentioned above), etc.
Studies show that immune function and Lyme disease are inversely correlated. If some immune markers are high, the infection is either nonexistent or low. If some markers are low, the evolution of the disease is much more serious. The spirochete can manipulate the immune system. This, along with the energy spent to fight the disease, creates a severe fatigue in many sufferers. Antibiotics are not very effective. Studies show that they work in 60% of cases. Antibiotics do not work consistently for several reasons. The most obvious reason is the genetic flexibility of Borrelia. The nature of the immune function is another reason: because the Borrelia protein often changes its outer layer, the immune system struggles to organize an effective response.
The immune system has trouble recognizing this everchanging organism. The Borrelia locates itself in the body where immune surveillance and blood flow are low. It disguises itself by mutating rapidly in forms that escape the immune system and antibiotics, it hides in biofilms, it becomes encysted, and can remain encysted for a year or more, which puts it apart from the immune antibodies and anti-infection treatments. After an apparent recovery phase, which is only a remission, the Borrelia can grow back very aggressively.
The information transmitted here is subject to change over time. The researchers are far from fully comprehending this complex disease and the truths of today may change tomorrow in the light of new discoveries. The toxic and inflammatory phenomena found in later stages of Lyme disease have yet to be investigated.
All forest activities carry risks: to reduce the risk of tick bites, wear long, protective clothing (possibly covered with an anti-tick spray) and back, well inspect the entire body (armpits, folds and scalp). To remove a tick, use a tick puller or tweezers - and in no case an ether - and disinfect the bite site. You must then monitor the area and consult your physician if a red patch appears.
It is important to note that all ticks themselves carry the bacteria, all tick bites do not transmit the bacteria, and even in case of infection, the disease in its chronic form will not arise if treated promptly and properly.
Present throughout the Northern Hemisphere, ticks proliferate throughout France with climate change. Today, they tend to multiply all over the world, including in mountainous areas. Keep in mind that you may be infected during a trip, and thus an infection can be caused by bacteria that are not usually sought during analysis in France. Remember to tell your physician about the trips you've made, especially if you remember an episode of fever, flu syndrome, or cutaneous manifestation, during or after your trip. The tick bite like that of many other insects often goes unnoticed. Erythema migrans is not always seen and it is not systematic, nor the like symptoms. Even when present, it does not alert the person as he/she thinks he/she has a transient infection. Moreover, the infection could also go through other modes of transmission that have yet to be investigated (in utero transmission is suspected, through sex, through blood donation, etc.).
A tick female lays 2,000 eggs that will give birth to a larva (1/2 mm), which will turn into pupa (1 mm) to finally give adults: the disease can be transmitted from the larval stage to adult state. The tick mark finds,its prey (animals, humans) by heat, odors and vibrations of the ground, because it has no eyes.
We do not go into the debate on the diagnostic difficulty of Lyme disease, the recognition of the disease by medical authorities and treatments of tracks, but we communicate the following websites on these topics:
We talk about "Lyme borreliosis" in reference to the city Lyme (Connecticut, USA), where a juvenile rheumatoid arthritis epidemic occurred in 1975, related to the bacteria.
Photo creds "Lycoperdons piriforme": Michel RICHARD - Société Mycologique du Haut-Rhin (Mycological Society of Upper Rhine )