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  • Lesley Fein

Lyme Disease: Myths and Truths

TICKS HAVE TO BE ATTACHED FOR 3 DAYS TO TRANSMIT LYME

MYTH!

The only studies behind this myth were done on hairless rats! Infected ticks were attached and then removed carefully by the mouthparts after one day, two days etc.

WHY IS THIS NOT APPLICABLE?

  1. Human skin is softer than rat skin

  2. Most people do not remove ticks correctly by the mouthparts. Most commonly they see or feel something on the skin, and reflexly grab it to remove it. What is wrong with that? You inject the contents of the tick's gut into your skin, thus making certain you will be infected by whatever it is carrying.

  3. Most people either do not even see ticks. They drop off after feeding.

TICK BITES ARE FOLLOWED BY RASHES

MYTH!

Most people do not see a rash because the places favored by ticks are scalp, armpits and groin. They inject a local anesthetic into the skin so the rash is painless. It is also evanescent in many cases, lasting less than a day.

LYME RASHES ARE ALWAYS BULL'S EYES

MYTH!

Studies performed at NYU showed that of biopsy positive rashes, less than 50% looked like a classic Bull's eye. The rest were various non specific rashes.

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