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Prolonged antibiotics for Lyme disease 'harmful' says study

Sunday, March 17th 2019, 3:50 pm - The paper adds to the ongoing debate about Lyme disease treatments

Lyme disease can difficult to diagnose and certain cases can be even more difficult to treat, and a new study indicates that some of the current antibiotic treatments could be 'harmful.'

The study, conducted by Canadian medical experts, finds that a prolonged course of antibiotics to treat Lyme disease is no more beneficial to a patient than a placebo, and can even cause adverse health conditions, such as allergic reactions, C. difficile infections, and other infections from intravenous catheters.

(RELATED: Ticks can survive cold weather, so keep checking your pets)

Lyme disease is challenging to diagnose because the symptoms of the disease – fever, fatigue, headache, muscle and joint aches, rashes – are symptoms of many other illnesses. Symptoms can occur between 3 to 30 days after a person has been infected, which is usually by an insect, most commonly ticks, or animal that is carrying the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium.

The release of this study comes at a time when Lyme disease is infecting humans at higher rates and is becoming increasingly common in regions it has never been found in before. Ticks are typically most active in the spring and summer, but can be found in Canada at any time of the year. Warming conditions over the years have increased the size of the ticks habitat, and they are able to survive under the snow during winter.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, Canadian cases of Lyme disease have increased by 13 per cent from 2009 to 2017, and the majority occurred in Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia.


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