Love cuddling fluffy dogs? Think again, you might just get bitten by a tick, and the disease it spreads is not as sweet as its name. The Borrelia bacteria spread by ticks can cause Lyme borreliosis or the Lyme disease which affects a person's nerves and leads to joint pain, neck stiffness and even paralysis. A 25-year-old woman from Harrow, a suburban town in England, is now cursing herself for not having cared much about these tiny monsters before petting animals.
Juliet Rose is now counting her days after being diagnosed with Lyme disease. This 'outdoorsy' woman, who once loved to play in open areas, in the forests and cuddle animals, can no longer walk.
She believes that she had contracted the disease when she was a kid, without her even knowing what it was. Now, Rose's organs are slowly failing and she has lost much weight, reports the Daily Mail. She can no longer eat solid food and doctors believe that this can turn fatal for the girl.
"I do try to have hope and wake up every day feeling glad that I am still alive, but I just don't know how much longer I can go on like this," she said.
Chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, anxiety and bowel problems started troubling her in early 2016, and she was then diagnosed with Lyme disease. Her early symptoms included fever, joint pain and swollen joints, nerve and heart problems. The situation became more worrisome when doctors discovered a small blockage in the underweight girl's small intestine; she was also confined to a wheelchair. Rose, who was once an active child, now relies on her 28-year-old sister Hannah to help with her day to day activities.
Ticks are most common in dogs and cats. Ticks of domestic animals lead to poor health and loss of production by transmitting viruses and bacteria. This can cause diseases which can turn fatal for the animals and can affect humans too.
In case of dogs, the ticks get attached to their body and feed on their blood. Although rare, ticks can consume enough blood that might turn the dogs anemic. Certain female ticks can cause a form of rare paralysis in dogs as well.
What is Lyme disease?
Not only dogs but cattle and even certain migratory birds carry the ticks that harbor the Borrelia bacteria. The ticks mostly live on the bodies of animals -- usually inside their ears.
They are mainly found in humid and tropical climates which offer the right temperature necessary to help them grow up, from egg to larvae.They feed on the blood of mammals, birds and even reptiles. The ticks need to be attached to the body of the host for 36 to 48 hours before the bacteria can spread in the animal.
The bacteria responsible for the Lyme disease was first discovered by the scientist Willy Burgdorfer, and in 1982 the bacteria was named in his honor: Borrelia burgdorferi.
The most common symptoms of Lyme disease are fever, joint pains, fatigue and skin rash, which is also known as erythema migrans. The rash can spread up to 12 inches and has the appearance of a bull's eye. The rash occurs in almost 80 percent of the infected people. If left untreated, the disease can cause neck stiffness, facial paralysis, nerve disorders and heart diseases, and even be fatal.
To prevent tick bites, one can wear long trousers; pesticides can be used to control a tick infection. Tweezers can be used to pluck off the ticks. A single dose of doxycycline might help prevent the spread of the infection in a human being.