When Lyme disease symptoms are severe and difficult to resolve, the practitioner may need to consider chronic Lyme disease (CLD) or post-treatment Lyme disease (PTLD). Over one million people are estimated to be struggling with ongoing infection or multi-system immune dysfunction sparked by an initial Lyme infection. Some research even reports an estimate approaching two million individuals for the year 2020. Persistent, debilitating symptoms can severely compromise a person’s quality of life, leaving them vulnerable to an ongoing state of immune crisis, mental health struggles, financial woes, among other serious problems.
Vector-borne disease: The WHO defines vector-borne diseases as “human illnesses caused by parasites, viruses and bacteria that are transmitted by vectors.” Vectors are organisms, like a tick or a mosquito, that spread pathogens from human to human, or from animal to human. Blood-sucking insects are the most common type of vector. In the context of Lyme disease, the tick is the vector, Borrelia burgdorferi is the pathogen, and Lyme disease is the vector-borne disease.
Zoonotic disease: A disease that spreads from animals to humans. In the case of Lyme disease, a tick feeds on the blood of an infected animal like a mouse. When it bites a human, the tick may pass on Borrelia burdorferi bacteria leading to zoonotic disease. The CDC estimates that “3 out of every 4 new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals.”
Acute infection: The early stage of an infection characteristized by sudden onset and rapid progression.