Lyme disease: unable to work due to tick bite?

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Unfit to work due to tick bite? Lyme disease underestimated to this day.

(August 20, 2010) The patient organization "Borreliose-und-FSME-Bund Deutschland" and the German Borreliose Society in Berlin, like the Federal Ministry of Health, have long been warning of the tick-borne disease. To date, around one million people in Germany have been infected with Lyme disease.

However, exact numbers of the number of infections are only available in East Germany, since there is already a medical reporting obligation for Lyme disease. In the West German federal states, this will only be introduced in the coming years. There are no vaccinations to protect against Lyme disease, because the bacteria constantly change their surface and therefore do not offer a starting point for an effective vaccine. The so-called "blanket vaccination" only helps against the transmission of the "early summer general policy" (TBE), a disease that is also frequently transmitted by ticks.

Ticks that have Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria in them pass them on to the host after a bite after about one to two hours. Infection often manifests itself in the form of ring-shaped reddening of the skin or rash in the area of ​​the tick bite, sometimes accompanied by a feeling of flu as well as headache, neck pain, muscle and joint pain. In the early stages of the disease, Lyme disease can be treated relatively well with the help of antibiotics, which leads to healing success in about 90 percent of cases.

However, the problem lies in the early diagnosis, because if the disease is already at an advanced stage, there are few treatment options. Lyme disease easily becomes a chronic disease with serious consequences for those affected. The pathogens move in the body and affect numerous organs, joints, muscles, and nerves. Inflammation of the nervous system, heart muscle, joints or meninges, regularly accompanied by motor disorders, concentration problems and mental disorders, such as Depression and dementia are signs of chronic Lyme disease. Symptoms of paralysis and deaths have already been recorded in connection with Lyme disease, but are the rather rare exception. On the other hand, the infection more often ends with lifelong pain, incapacity to work and the destruction of social relationships, according to internist Walter Berghoff from the German Lyme Society.

Since the chances of success of the treatment are essentially connected with an early diagnosis, the patient representative of the federal government, Wolfgang Zöller (CSU), in a recently published press release called "finally a joint action by doctors, science and health insurers" for the existing research and diagnosis - and to correct therapy deficit. Diagnostic problems are mainly due to the lack of clear symptoms. Even the blush that is considered to be characteristic only occurs in about 50 percent of the affected patients. In addition, the tests to determine the disease can also be faulty, since the test procedures are not standardized and are offered by different manufacturers, said the specialist in the Borreliose Centrum Augsburg, Armin Schwarzbach. In addition, there are only two different test procedures that are currently used as a two-stage test procedure that build on one another. Initially the ELISA test is carried out, which is verified by the Western blot test if the result is positive. However, the ELISA test is extremely inaccurate and often delivers incorrect results, which makes early diagnosis of Lyme disease considerably more difficult. For example, over 75 percent of patients with chronic Lyme disease had a negative ELISA test, while the Western blot test, which was nevertheless carried out, was positive. (fp)

Also read:
Ticks: increase in cases of Lyme disease
Ticks: alarm in Germany?
Prevention: Don't panic about ticks
Patient representative announces Lyme disease law

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