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2 reports of Lyme disease in Screven County

Over the past month, there have been two confirmed Lyme disease patients at Optim Medical Center – Screven.
According to the CDC, there were only 31 confirmed cases in Georgia in 2012. The exceptionally rare disease is transmitted from blacklegged ticks which inhabit this area.
Blacklegged ticks are very difficult to spot due to their small size, and when they are feeding on a human for at least 36 hours the Lyme disease bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, can be spread. Adult ticks are easier to spot and are thus not as likely to transmit the headache-inducing disease.
The greatest chances of infection are during the spring and summer months, as the nymphs are out of their larva stage and begin feeding on whatever they can get a hold of. In the fall ticks reach their adult stage and are much easier to find.
Ticks pick up diseases from their first host animal and when they move on to their next meal, transfer the disease to their new host.
Signs and symptoms of Lyme disease include a red, expanding rash after the bite and fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint aches and swollen lymph nodes. The “bull’s-eye” rash occurs in about 70-80 percent of infected persons, according to the CDC.
If left untreated the disease can begin to cause facial or Bell’s palsy, which is a loss of muscle tone on one or both sides of the face. Severe headaches and neck stiffness due to inflammation of the spinal cord can occur.
When the disease is not treated for months or years it begins causing arthritis and can cause chronic neurological complaints.
“Patients treated with appropriate antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover rapidly and completely. Antibiotics commonly used for oral treatment include doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime axetil,“ the CDC said on its website.
Preventing a tick bite requires people to use DEET or Permethrin for repellants, or just avoid bushy, wooded areas altogether. To remove a tick use fine-tipped tweezers and grasp the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull upward steadily. If an individual twists or jerks the tick, parts of it can remain broken off into skin.
Crushing the blood-sucker in your fingers is not a recommended way to get rid of a tick, but flushing it down a toilet or submersing it in alcohol is.