Lyme Disease

Introduction

The fight against pest infections has been on course for many years all over the world. In warm climate areas, these infections and diseases have taken their toll and spread at a very quick pace. It is the duty of every individual to curb the infection of pests in their environment; organizations play an important role in ensuring that the spread is controlled. In Canada and other regions with the same climatic conditions, there is a serious threat according to the rates of infection among the citizens (Minn, 1999). The infection by the black-legged tick that leads to Lyme disease is a major subject in these accounts.

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This infection is caused by bacteria carried by the ticks when biting humans. Humans develop severe health problems when they are exposed to the infection. This paper is focused on identifying the vital aspects of the issue of Lyme disease. It creates a comprehension and basis behind the infection and its spread to humans. It uses secondary sources of information to highlight key aspects in the understanding of the nature of Lyme disease and its causative agents; these credible sources of information serve to create an intervention for the crisis in several nations.

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Discussion

Lyme disease is a common infectious disease in Canada and the United States of America. This is one of the fastest spreading infections in both North America and Europe. Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium that is carried by adult deer and nymphal ticks. The bacterium is called Borrelia burgdorferi, a scientific name that was given to the investigator of the infection (Minn, 1999). This disease is very wide-spread in warm areas; this is basically because these microorganisms prevail in warm conditions. It is clear from the medical records that the highest infection rates are witnessed during the warm period.

These bacteria are equipped to evolve with the need to evade the antigen by the body after the tick has bitten its victim. Scientific research shows that the species is adapted to create many variations in its morphology to counter the production of antigens in the body (Rahn, 1998). The infection caused by these microorganisms is so strong that it still comes up against a strong immune response. These spirally shaped organisms form a deadly death circle that leaves a large number of victimized.

After the tick has bitten the human skin, it leaves behind a red or pink localized rash. This is the unique aspect of the bite of a tick carrying the bacterium. The scientific name of this type of rash is Erythema migrans (Coyle, 1992). It has been concluded scientifically that the species involved in transmitting the bacteria are Ixodes scapularis and Ixodes Pacificus popularly known in America (Coyle, 1992). The black-legged ticks are commonly found on deers and other warm climate animals.

The symptoms associated with the disease are shown with exposure to the bacteria. Initial symptoms are easily ignored by the victims; this is when the bacteria have just entered the body. Victims suffer from flu and experience mild headaches that lead to fever. On other occasions, they develop fatigue that leads to poor performance at work. These simple changes are an indication that the body is suffering from a foreign infestation. In severe cases, the victims develop depression that alters their emotions and moods; further lack of treatment even worsens the situation. Severe infections are indicated by pain in the muscles and joints, this condition may affect the central nervous system and the heart (Evans, 2000). It is medically wise to seek early treatment and medical guidance at the early stages of infection.

The encroachment of these species of ticks that spread the deadly bacteria is fast in the warm climate areas. These areas include the North American regions and Canada. New areas in the United Kingdom have been reported to have these ticks: Exmoor, parts of Berkshire and Hampshire, and South Down. Lyme disease has been termed the most common (tick-borne) infection in both Europe and North America (Wormser, 2000).

In these regions, physicians in the clinics and health centers agree that most of the bites happen during the late spring. It during is this period that most individuals come out in their eventful moods to enjoy the scenery and other activities like hiking. This is an opportunity for the bacteria to be spread throughout the areas. Other areas have a unique diversity of species like the deer; in these areas, ticks are very common as they are easily dropped by the animals. There are very rare cases that gave Cooper’s hawk as a carrier to this bacterium (Wormser, 2000). This species of hawk is found in warm areas that have favorable conditions for the survival of these ticks.

When the tick carrying the bacteria bites its host, the transmission and infection begin. The tick sticks on the skin of the human victim while these bacteria intrude the body, initiating infection. It is the tick’s bite that passes the bacteria into the blood system of its victim. It has been confirmed by physicians that the longer the victim is exposed to the bite from the tick, the higher are the chances of getting infected (Umphress, 2000). It is not possible to transmit the infection from one individual to another. The infection does not show any signs of being contagious thus cannot be contracted by an uninfected person. The rate of infection is very high so that the disease has been called a crisis. For example, in Canada, there are 300,000 patients suffering from the infection (Umphress, 2000).

Considering that the infection is so widespread, the health organizations had to develop the counter initiative to curb this evil. The example of Canada is the mean indicator of other widely affected areas that fight this disease. According to medical records in Canada, the resistant infection is very serious and ends up in deformities or worse paralysis. This is because the bacteria reach the central nervous system of its victim and destroy the body’s ability to maneuver.

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Treatment of this disease is offered in many health organizations after diagnosis. It can only be confirmed through blood tests that one is infected by Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium (Silverstein, 2000). Diagnosis cannot be determined by weighing the early symptoms in flu-like conditions. On the other hand, the localized rash on the skin is another way of acknowledging that the bite might be infectious. When there is a complete surety that the infection has been contracted through the bite, medical treatment is given. In treatment, antibiotics are prescribed to cure the infection in the body of the victim.

Seeking medical treatment is imperative and ought to be done in good time to ensure that the spread of the infection is not vast. When the infection is vast in the body, the chances of resistant infections is high. Resistant bacteria appear as a result of a high number of bacteria that tend to outdo the capacity of the treatment being offered. There are currently no prescribed vaccines to prevent the infection by the bacteria before biting. The one vaccine that used to be given was terminated because it brought severe side-effects to the patients.

After receiving treatment, it is important that prevention measures are taken to reduce the probability of the second infection. Ensuring that the environment is free from such pests is an important procedure that will serve to curb the number of cases. For instance, those who have their residences in tick-infested areas have to take an extra measure in employing sanitation. Other cases would demand wearing protective clothing in order to prevent the bite by the ticks. These clothing include hand gloves and leg covering clothing that minimizes the area exposed to the tick’s fatal bite (Silverstein, 2000). This will also reduce the chances of not noticing the tick on the body as it can be seen conspicuously.

It is crucial that all chances are explored in contribution to the fight against this infection. Other methods of reducing the chances of infection include wearing insect repellents while in highly infested areas. These repellents contain chemical substances that either kill or repel the insects away from the body, reducing the likelihood of a bite. These repellents are applied to the exposed body areas prone to bites by pests or insects.

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There needs to be a keen dedication to personal hygiene that would discourage the probability of acquiring the infection. Washing and spraying the clothing will obviously go an extra step in ascertaining that there are no ticks. In the event that one was in wooded areas, they should make sure that they have not carried any ticks from the sites. Preventing the spread and infection of Lyme disease implies prevent the bite by the black-legged ticks that are carried by animals like the deer and hawk.

The bacteria have a unique ability to change their nature to evade the designated structure of the antigen naturally produced by the body after the bite. This evasive ability poses a great challenge for the team of medical analysts and researchers who study and devise means of curbing the infection (Donnelly, 2000).

This explains the reason as to why there are no known vaccines and little progress in the direction. When the infection is able to change and avoid the action of treatment, engineering a vaccine is a difficult process which is, in some cases, impossible. The way how this bacterium responds to medical treatment is still not well explored. The thousands of victims suffering from Lyme disease are at risk of fatal health complications that can even reach the brain and heart of the infected.

The life cycle of the bacteria starts with the tick that is already infected thus carrying these microorganisms. The microorganisms are transmitted to the human through a bite that gives enough time for the infection to be initiated. From the point of the bite to the nervous system, the infection is carried by body fluids like blood and lymph. When the body has been exposed to the bacteria for a long time, it leads to the development of resistance to treatment (Nybo, 2000). The infection grows to resist the specified medication thus demanding more attention.

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These severities pose a challenge to treatment. Research studies conducted by the National Institute of Health say that it takes a period of 36 hours for the bacteria causing Lyme to transmit. When the tick is promptly removed from the skin area the chance of infection is reduced. This is done by holding its head firmly by a set of tweezers and pulling it from the skin (Nybo, 2000). All parts of the tick must be removed from the skin as sometimes the head is left behind. The bitten area is disinfected by antiseptic and hands washed.

When the victim is infected for several weeks by the bacteria, they develop arthritis. This forms a contribution of 60% in the total cases of unattended infections. Arthritis is a serious condition of the bone and joints that is characterized by painful joints and inflammation. The condition can switch joints thus affect various joints in the body (Hoff, 2000). This disease is commonly known to affect the knee joints of the victim. Approximately 15% of those who fail to receive medication for arthritis at the early stages end up in lasting arthritis.

To prevent infection to humans, it is impractical to wipe out the infestation of the ticks in the areas. It is due to the fact that there are many contributors to the existence of such high numbers of pests causing disease. In addition to this, most of the bites are obtained not in urban but woodland areas that have a habitat for these species of the Monera Kingdom (Hoff, 2000). This is the reason as to why it is better to protect individuals against the bite from these ticks.

For nations that are facing this crisis, there is no sufficient test procedure that can fully determine the status of patients fearing infection. In Canada, the tests for Lyme disease are inconclusive hence many are not given the proper attention in care of the infection. This means that there are many cases of misdiagnosis and omission for others. Lacking a dedicated test procedure for Lyme disease is a liability thus regressing for treatment.

There are various research initiatives that are underway to curb the infection that has reached a critical point in various nations. These projects are designed to offer a deeper understanding of the subject thus allowing for effective measures against the spread. Scientific efforts are being conducted internationally to ensure that is a promising future in controlling Lyme. These projects include procedures in science and biology that would strike the evasive nature of the virus.

Further exploration of the behavior of the bacteria is focused on how to disintegrate the structure of the complex microorganism demanding such a number of victims (Hoff, 2000). Apart from the biological research being conducted, there are initiatives to modify the environment reducing the disease-causing pests’ survival. This process is very demanding and expensive but serves to aid in offering a way out of this doom. With the knowledge that the ticks can only survive in the warm climatic area, botanical specialists are developing ways of using the natural habitat to counter their existence.

In the struggle against these ticks and their associated infections to the victims, various organizations and individuals have forged a campaign against the disease. This campaign focuses on all efforts directed at curbing the crisis. In Canada, for instance, petitions have been put in place for citizens’ participation in the control process. This is the idea of Elizabeth May commonly referred to as Bill C-442. In essence, it is a National Lyme Disease Act that unites the citizens in Canada against the spread of Lyme disease. There has been significant participation of the country’s citizens; this is seen from a total of more than 14,000 signed petitions.

These petitions are directed towards the government in creating strategies that will help curb the disease. This act is designed to join the abilities of health workers and the government in developing key strategies that would ensure timely diagnosis and subsequent effective medical treatment of patients. The fight against these ticks is a universal effort that is being supported by every individual. In Canada, its leaders have worked together in discouraging the disease. For instance, it is required that all medical physicians produce an up-to-date record of the infection rates of the citizens in Canada. This record is a key move in monitoring the progress in curbing the rate of the infection.

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Lyme disease has contributed negatively to the nation and its economy. This is by way of reducing the number of able workers that run major sectors influencing growth. The victims are affected psychologically as they lack the capacity to perform owing this to fatigue and muscle pains when sick. Most of these sick individuals used to earn a living thus had families and responsibilities, but after infection, they tend to address such issues. It is through this process that the living standards of many individuals deteriorate (Lutwick, 2000).

The family of the victim also suffers psychologically as they lack an active member of the society and their contribution. In extreme cases, there is the separation of the members after they lose hope hence fall into despair. Other areas like the agricultural sector also suffer from the crisis as many active laborers fall sick and fail to attend to their normal routine leaving a gap in the production of the sector. Cumulatively, these changes end up decreasing the government revenue thus affecting national planning.

Conclusion

The spread of Lyme disease and a large number of victims creates a desperate picture for the suffering nations. It is, therefore, the initiative of all members of society to form a strong force against this threat. The government needs to take up the recommendations and projects being designed in relation to Lyme disease. It is an effort to preserve the diversity of society and avoid losing community members. Initiatives aimed at addressing the problem of ticks should include additional training of health workers for a better understanding of this treacherous species of bacterium.

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