Earlier this past week I had the pleasure of removing a deer tick from a close relative. This of course was immediately followed with treatment to prevent the development of Lyme disease. While there are not many confirmed cases of Lyme disease in Alberta or Canada for that matter, the number of cases is continuing to grow in Canada with the warmer winters.
Lyme disease is caused not by the deer tick itself, but the bacteria it carries (Borellia burgdoferi). The bacteria enter into the body when we are bitten by the tick. Often a target or bullseye rash forms with the infection. Symptoms of Lyme are similar to that of other spirochaete infections. Symptoms can include fever and general malaise, and can affect the heart, central nervous system, and joints.
Long term or chronic infections can be difficult to treat and often include chelation and antibiotics. However, with continued treatment many patients find improvement. I have treated a number of patients and it is very rewarding to see the improvements.
If you spend time out doors in the wilderness (camping, hiking, horse back riding, etc) and are suffering from an illness that no can quite explain - you may want to look into testing (and yes we do offer it in the clinic).
Interesting fact: Lyme - from Lyme Connecticut, where it was first discovered.