Lyme Disease/Lyme disease


i've read that the deer ticks in the NE of the US carry this disease.  

Is it possible and probable that someone bitten by a tick in central FLORIDA could get lyme disease?  The spots from the bites have not grown, but some symptoms, such as vomiting and diareahhea happened 48hrs after the bites.

Thank you!

Hi "M",
Thank you for writing. To learn more about Lyme Disease, here is a great site (ILADS) which contains a lot of very useful information: This particular page lists the basics that everyone should be aware of. (I've also listed some of the information below)

Lyme has been reported in every state in the U.S. Currently the fastest growing areas of Lyme epidemics are the Pacific Northwest (including Northern California), Wisconsin and then of course the New England area. However, what is frustrating for many Lyme sufferers, is that there are still doctors who don't believe (or haven't been properly educated yet) on the incidences of Lyme in places like Florida, for example.

To complicate matters, tick bites can produce other infections which are separate from the bacteria that causes Lyme (which is called "borrelia burgdorferi) Many people can contract other strains, as well as completely separate co-infections including Babesia, Bartonella (aka Cat Scratch Fever), Erlichia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Tularemia, and Mycoplasma to name a few.

These co-infections will NOT test positive on a traditional Lyme test (nor does Lyme itself test positive in many cases) so diagnosis and resulting treatment can be difficult.

To answer your question, YES, there have been reported cases of Lyme Disease in Florida although there are unfortunately still doctors who will tell you otherwise. If you are experiencing symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea following a tick bite, you need to get medical attention immediately. As I stated above, Lyme disease is not the only tick borne infection that you can contract - there are many others and you may need to be referred to an Infectious Disease doctor if your primary doctor can't help you. Normally, I wouldn't recommend an Infectious Disease MD because unfortunately MANY of them are very misinformed about Lyme diagnosis and treatment. (Not all, but most!)
However, because you live in Florida, and you are having these symptoms, I think it would be a good idea.
If you need additional assistance, please don't hesitate to contact me again. I will be happy to help if I can.


Basic Information about Lyme Disease
By The International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society

Lyme disease is transmitted by the bite of a tick, and the disease is prevalent across the United states and throughout the world. Ticks know no borders and respect no boundaries. A patient's county of residence does not accurately reflect his or her Lyme disease risk because people travel, pets travel, and ticks travel. This creates a dynamic situation with many opportunities for exposure to Lyme disease for each individual.
Lyme disease is a clinical diagnosis. The disease is caused by a spiral-shaped bacteria (spirochete) called Borrelia Burgdorferi. The Lyme spirochete can cause infection of multiple organs and produce a wide range of symptoms. Case reports in the medical literature document the protean manifestations of Lyme disease, and familiarity with its varied presentations is key to recognizing disseminated disease.
Fewer than 50% of patients with Lyme disease recall a tick bite. In some studies this number is as low as 15% in culture-proven infection with the Lyme spirochete.
Fewer than 50% of patients with Lyme disease recall any rash. Although the erythema migrans (EM) or “bull’s-eye” rash is considered classic, it is not the most common dermatologic manifestation of early-localized Lyme infection. Atypical forms of this rash are seen far more commonly. It is important to know that the EM rash is pathognomonic of Lyme disease and requires no further verification prior to starting an appropriate course of antibiotic therapy.
The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) surveillance criteria for Lyme disease were devised to track a narrow band of cases for epidemiologic purposes. As stated on the CDC website, the surveillance criteria were never intended to be used as diagnostic criteria, nor were they meant to define the entire scope of Lyme disease.
The elisa screening test is unreliable. The test misses 35% of culture proven Lyme disease (only 65% sensitivity) and is unacceptable as the first step of a two-step screening protocol. By definition, a screening test should have at least 95% sensitivity.
Of patients with acute culture-proven Lyme disease, 20–30% remain seronegative on serial western blot sampling. Antibody titers also appear to decline over time; thus while the western blot may remain positive for months, it may not always be sensitive enough to detect chronic infection with the Lyme spirochete. For “epidemiological purposes” the CDC eliminated from the western blot analysis the reading of bands 31 and 34. These bands are so specific to Borrelia Burgdorferi that they were chosen for vaccine development. Since a vaccine for Lyme disease is currently unavailable, however, a positive 31 or 34 band is highly indicative of Borrelia Burgdorferi exposure. Yet these bands are not reported in commercial Lyme tests.
When used as part of a diagnostic evaluation for Lyme disease, the western blot should be performed by a laboratory that reads and reports all of the bands related to Borrelia Burgdorferi. Laboratories that use FDA approved kits (for instance, the mardx marblot®) are restricted from reporting all of the bands, as they must abide by the rules of the manufacturer. These rules are set up in accordance with the CDC's surveillance criteria and increase the risk of false-negative results. The commercial kits may be useful for surveillance purposes, but they offer too little information to be useful in patient management.
There are 5 subspecies of Borrelia Burgdorferi, over 100 strains in the us, and 300 strains worldwide. This diversity is thought to contribute to the antigenic variability of the spirochete and its ability to evade the immune system and antibiotic therapy, leading to chronic infection.
Testing for Babesia, Anaplasma, Ehrlichia and Bartonella (other tick-transmitted organisms) should be performed. The presence of co-infection with these organisms points to probable infection with the Lyme spirochete as well. If these coinfections are left untreated, their continued presence increases morbidity and prevents successful treatment of Lyme disease.
A preponderance of evidence indicates that active ongoing spirochetal infection with or without other tick-borne coinfections is the cause of the persistent symptoms in chronic Lyme disease.
There has never been a study demonstrating that 30 days of antibiotic treatment cures chronic Lyme disease. However there is a plethora of documentation in the us and european medical literature demonstrating by histology and culture techniques that short courses of antibiotic treatment fail to eradicate the Lyme spirochete. Short treatment courses have resulted in upwards of a 40% relapse rate, especially if treatment is delayed.
Most cases of chronic Lyme disease require an extended course of antibiotic therapy to achieve symptomatic relief. The return of symptoms and evidence of the continued presence of Borrelia Burgdorferi indicates the need for further treatment. The very real consequences of untreated chronic persistent Lyme infection far outweigh the potential consequences of long-term antibiotic therapy.
Many patients with chronic Lyme disease require prolonged treatment until the patient is symptom-free. Relapses occur and retreatment may be required. There are no tests currently available to provethat the organism is eradicated or that the patient with chronic Lyme disease is cured.
Like Syphilis in the 19th century, Lyme disease has been called the great imitator and should be considered in the differential diagnosis of rheumatologic and neurologic conditions, as well as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Somatization Disorder and any difficult-to-diagnose multi-system illness.

Disclaimer: The foregoing information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace or supersede patient care by a healthcare provider. If an individual suspects the presence of a tick-borne illness, that individual should consult a healthcare provider who is familiar with the diagnosis and treatment of tick-borne diseases.
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I contracted Lyme Disease while on hiking trip in Virginia almost 3 years ago. I returned to San Diego and within 3 weeks came down with a terrible "flu-like" illness. During that time, I developed some strange rashes on my fingers and the palm of my hand. I also had a giant melon size purple "bruise" on my left thigh which may or may not have been a bullseye - but I didn't even know that was back then. A week later, I went to the store and stopped right outside the entrance. I realized that I had completely forgotten WHY I was there and it was the most scary, unsettling feeling I've ever had. That was the beginning of my strange cognitive and neuro issues I would have for the next 2 and 1/2 years. I had previously been an extremely active person - running up to 4 miles a day and hiking a few times a week. All of a sudden, I was so tired I couldn't get out of bed and my legs became weaker and weaker. At first I thought I was anemic, and when I went to a clinic, they said you probably have mono even though you aren't testing positive. I began to get fevers, night sweats, sleep disturbances, abdominal pain, and horrible nausea. Within 6 months I was developing severe arthritis in every joint in my body and THEN...the worst. . . nerve pain developing in my arms and legs. It was horrific pain. It took 7 months and a dozen doctors to diagnose me with Lyme, and since then, my entire world has been turned upside down! I have had to learn everything I could about Lyme Disease since I live in San Diego and we only have FOUR Lyme Literate doctors in this city. I am a member of several Lyme support groups and have become very active in spreading awareness about Lyme Disease and helping people get the right treatment they need. I decided to join up as an Expert, since I saw there were currently no "Lyme experts" listed at this time. I can answer most questions about Lyme - most importantly, how to instruct people as to WHERE to get help, answers, resources, etc.


I have lived with Lyme Disease for almost 3 years now (in January of 2013) and have had to educate myself because of the appalling lack of (correct) information about this disease. There is so much misinformation about Lyme, that I took it upon myself to read every book, article and studies available and educate myself. I'm a member of several Lyme groups and have learned so much by listening to other patients about their experiences and treatments. Thankfully I now have a wonderful LLMD (Lyme Literate MD) and am finally getting the treatment that I need. I've worked with dozens of other Lyme patients in helping them get the proper information and providing them with the resources they need to find doctors, learn about their options for treatments and help them find local support groups in their area. It saddens me when well meaning doctors tell their patients that they should be CURED after 3 weeks of antibiotics and yet these same patients are still suffering years later because they still have large bacterial loads in their body that are causing symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, nausea, weight loss/gain, sinus issues, muscle weakness and sometimes lack of mobility, nerve pain, joint pain, etc. - the list goes on and on. We need doctors to come together and realize that the past guidelines are NOT effective and they need to take their patients seriously rather than suggest that maybe it's "all in their head" (which happens more often than you'd think!) I am now unable to walk without a cane or walker (depending on how bad my legs are!), I continue to have peripheral neuropathy in both arms and legs, brain fog and lack of focus/concentration (is maddening!), fatigue, joint pain, nausea, headaches, sinus issues. . .the list goes on. But I'm hopeful that I'm on the right track for treatment (Finally!) and am optimistic that SOMEDAY, I WILL be cured! :)

Local and National Lyme Groups including CALDA (California Lyme Disease Association) Southern California Lyme Group MD Junction Lyme Group

I have a blog called which I definitely need to update since my last post, but it DOES have a LOT of useful links and information!

I have a Masters Degree in Film and Television - no medical degree here, but honestly I feel like I know more now than most (non-Lyme) doctors in the country.

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