Lyme Disease – Borreliella burgdorferi

by Sean Elliott, MD

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    00:01 So what are the manifestations? Well, Lyme disease like some other really unpleasant types of infections occurs in several stages and the first stage or primary stage, is highly associated with a rash known as erythema chronicum migrans, this is also the known as the target rash or I guess we’ll see a couple of examples of that.

    00:27 There’s certainly a slide coming up on which we can see a picture which is worth a thousand more of my words than me stumbling about this.

    00:33 So erythema chronicum migrans develops in nearly all patients and it typically occurs up to a month after that primary inoculation occurs as the immune reaction is getting going.

    00:46 Along with that, about 2/3 of patients will develop systemic symptoms but the systemic symptoms in primary lyme disease are very nonspecific - headache, low grade fever, maybe they’ll have rigors, maybe they’ll have myalgias, muscle aches; maybe they’ll have regional lymphadenopathy.

    01:06 And whatever they have, will sort of smoulder along for a couple of weeks and be completely resolved after four weeks.

    01:13 So it is entirely possible for primary lyme disease to go unrecognized if the rash, the erythema chronicum migrans lesion is in a spot which the patient does not discover.

    01:25 If untreated, then the next stage will be early disseminated Lyme disease or what some people call stage two, and in this stage there has been dissemination of Borrelia burgdorferi, throughout the human body and one can get pretty much any type of disease which you can imagine. Certainly, these patients will have severe fatigue and malaise; certainly they’ll have migratory polymyalgias, polyarthralgias; they may have primary arthritis typically of the knee.

    01:58 They may develop a neuroborreliosis or neurologic disease from the Lyme disease - all these can take anywhere from one to nine to ten months to develop.

    02:09 And as you can see there, the patients affected with the overall systemic signs are at least half, but if you look over the time period of stage two Lyme disease, nearly all patients up to a 100% at some point in their disease course will developed at least one or two of those systemic signs: the malaise, the myalgias, the arthralgias.

    02:33 Fortunately, the neuroborreliosis, the neurologic disorders with second stage Lyme disease occur in far fewer patients, only up to 15% but, those patients have significant disease - peripheral neuropathy, cranial nerve palsies, meningoencephalitis - you name it, this is a very big deal.

    02:54 Also, eight to even ten percent of the patients may develop cardiac findings along with their secondary or second stage Lyme disease.

    03:03 The most often diagnosed cardiac dysfunction is atrioventricular blockade, so patients may have dysrhythmias or tachyarrhythmias from a AV block due to the immune reaction to the Borrelia burgdorferi.

    03:22 Some actually develop inflammation of the myopericardium leading to congestive heart failure and these findings may slowly progress over six weeks or so.

    03:33 Finally, there is a late disseminated stage or a third stage for Lyme disease in which, again, any part of the human body can be affected.

    03:44 Almost all patients here, seen about 2/3 of patients will develop migratory polyarthritis of their large joints and certainly, polyarthralgias. But, they may also have long term neurologic complications such as ataxia, migraines, fatigue, confusion - some people liken this to an atypical form of encephalopathy.

    04:10 All of these can take place, none of these are specific to Lyme disease and unfortunately, therefore, many patients may feel they have “chronic Lyme disease,” when in fact they may have neurologic manifestations of a conversion disorder or a psychiatric disturbance, that also could be that they have active Lyme disease, too.

    04:32 So, all patients deserve an appropriate and full evaluation in that setting but again, one has to have a high index to suspicion to evaluate for and exclude Lyme disease.

    04:44 Here, as promised is the thousand words condensed into a picture, erythema chronicum migrans rash, a targetoid or a very prominent rash with a central erythema, a surrounding area of clearance and then an erythematous ring.

    05:00 If one sees this rash in the setting of a tick exposure or certainly even hiking in or being exposed to a part of the country with Ixodes scapularis, the tick, then the diagnosis of Lyme disease is a near certainty.

    05:17 In secondary or second stage Lyme disease, one may see multiple such lesions spread throughout the body which again makes sense because that is when the Borrelia has disseminated throughout the body and one can have multiple areas of immunologic reaction to deposition of that organism in the capillary beds.

    05:38 Treatment of Lyme disease, Treatment in part depends on the stage at which the patient is experiencing their illness or is coming to diagnosis.

    05:48 Ideally, all patients would be discovered, diagnosed and treated in early stage, the first stage of Lyme disease and if so they can be treated with doxycycline or any beta lactam - amoxicillin, cephalosporin would work.

    06:04 Doxycycline is listed as the primary choice here because many such patients presenting with early stage Lyme disease, may have an unwitnessed or a suspected tick bite and there may be other diseases carried by ticks in that region that doxycycline would treat and amoxicillin would not, to which you might think of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Ehrlichiosis, or something similar.

    06:30 So, doxycycline or amoxicillin in the first stage of Lyme disease.

    06:35 Pregnant women and children would respond less well to doxycycline, they would respond beautifully to amoxicillin but cefuroxime, a cephalosporin is suggested or even ceftriaxone as an intermediary to avoid any of the toxic effects of doxycycline in pregnancy.

    06:54 It is a teratogen so there’s a potential of causing birth defects to the fetus of a woman who’s treated with doxycycline.

    07:03 And then all other manifestations of Lyme disease, whether it’s second stage, third stage, chronic, etc. can be successfully treated with ceftriaxone but they also could be treated quite successfully with other beta lactam antibiotics including amoxicillin.

    About the Lecture

    The lecture Lyme Disease – Borreliella burgdorferi by Sean Elliott, MD is from the course Bacteria.

    Included Quiz Questions

    1. 3–30 days after tick bite
    2. 3–30 weeks after tick bite
    3. 2–20 days after tick bite
    4. 2–20 weeks after tick bite
    5. 2–20 hours after tick bite
    1. Neurological disorders
    2. Migratory polyarthritis
    3. Cardiac dysfunction
    4. Severe fatigue and malaise
    5. Erythema chronicum migrans
    1. Atrioventricular block
    2. Cardiomegaly
    3. Mitral valve prolapse
    4. Aortic valve stenosis
    5. Endocarditis
    1. Cefuroxime
    2. Tetracycline
    3. Ciprofloxacin
    4. Doxycycline
    5. Gentamicin

    Author of lecture Lyme Disease – Borreliella burgdorferi

     Sean Elliott, MD

    Sean Elliott, MD

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    By Horeb A. on 01. February 2020 for Lyme Disease – Borreliella burgdorferi

    Extremely informative and engaging. Amazing lecturer! Thank you! You make concepts so clear, and provide real-life scenarios for the diseases caused by the microbes. Humourous in some places, which makes the content easy to remember.