What causes Lyme disease

What causes Lyme disease

What is the etiology of Lyme disease?

Lyme disease in the United States is caused by an infection with the tick-borne spirochete, B. burgdorferi , which was discovered in 1982.

Only three genospecies of B. burgdorferi sensu lato cause infection in humans. Only one of these three pathogenic species ( B. burgdorferi ) occurs in North America, the other two occur in Asia ( B. garinii, B. afzelii ), and all three occur in Europe.

There are many similarities to syphilis; it is a multisystem disease occurring in stages that can mimic other diseases. 

Borrelia can only rarely be cultured from the blood or other infected tissues, and the incubation period is 3 to 32 days. Since Borrelia species are rarely found in tissues, the pathogenesis of Lyme disease manifestations is thought to be due to the host’s inflammatory response to the spirochete.


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