Tickborne Disease - Information for Healthcare Professionals  

Healthcare Professionals: Common Ticks | Anaplasmosis | Ehrlichiosis | Lyme Disease | Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever | STARI | Tularemia

Lyme Disease

According to the CDC case definition for Lyme disease, Arkansas is considered a low-incidence state meaning there are less than 10 confirmed cases per 100,000 people for the previous three reporting years. Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks.

Symptoms:

· Fever
· Headache
· Fatigue
· A characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans (bulls-eye)



If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.
Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with antibiotics. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can transmit other tickborne diseases as well.

For Health Care Professionals: Diagnosis, Treatment and Testing

Because Arkansas is categorized as a low-incidence state, healthcare professionals should consider other diagnosis first, like: viral infections, STARI, fibromyalgia, or arthritis.

For Health Care Professionals: Case Definition

The Arkansas Department of Health utilizes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) case definition for Lyme disease for reporting and surveillance purposes. Current case definitions for all tickborne diseases can be found on the CDC website.

In low-incidence states, like Arkansas, a case of Lyme is classified as confirmed with a case of EM rash with laboratory evidence of infection and a known exposure, or any case with at least one late manifestation that has laboratory evidence of infection.

Points for Patients

The Arkansas Department of Health is not responsible for diagnosing and testing for Lyme disease. ADH is mainly responsible for reporting laboratory and healthcare professional confirmed cases for surveillance purposes. It is important to recognize cases of Lyme when they occur, so ADH examines every Lyme disease related lab result that is reported. 

It is not impossible to get Lyme in the state of Arkansas, but it is not common because of the apparent process of transmission in the state.

The blacklegged tick can be found in parts of Arkansas, to avoid all tickborne illnesses, you can take these measures to prevent tick bites.