“While a lot of people kept saying Justin Bieber looks like (expletive), on meth etc. they failed to realize I’ve been recently diagnosed with Lyme disease,” he wrote, adding, “not only that but a serious case of chronic mono which affected my skin, brain function, energy, and overall health.”
While some 30,000 cases of Lyme disease get reported annually, the Centers for Disease Control suggests the actual number of diagnosed cases maybe 10 times that – about 300,000.
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is caused by an infection with bacteria called Borrelia Burgdorferi, which is carried in the gut of different types of ticks. The germ is transferred to the bloodstream about a day or two after an infected tick attaches and starts to feed. The diagnoses of Lyme can be straightforward, but sometimes requires a blood test that’s not always reliable.
Symptoms that could mean Lyme disease
Early stages of Lyme disease are usually marked with fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes. These flulike symptoms can seem like other diseases, meaning patients and doctors may not test for it. In 60 to 80 percent of cases, however, a “bull’s-eye” or red rash appears on the skin. This rash may be on the bite site or other locations on the body and will expand over time.
According to the Mayo Clinic, some experts believe that certain people who get Lyme are predisposed to develop an autoimmune response that contributes to their symptoms but more research is needed.
Is there a cure for Lyme?
Bieber wrote in his Instagram post that he was getting treatment for the “so far incurable disease.” There is no cure for Lyme disease, but it is successfully treated with antibiotics in a vast majority cases.
According to the Mayo Clinic, oral antibiotics are the standard treatment for early-stage Lyme disease and include doxycycline, amoxicillin or cefuroxime, depending on age and health condition.
Intravenous antibiotics are used when the disease involves the central nervous system, and Lyme symptoms sometimes don’t disappear even if the infection is gone. This condition, called post-Lyme disease syndrome, is mostly unknown in the medical community and more antibiotics don’t help.
Some people seek untested alternatives to find relief from symptoms. The Mayo Clinic recommends that patients consult their doctor before beginning an alternative treatment.
Which states have the most Lyme cases?
Ninety-five percent of all confirmed Lyme disease cases in 2015 stemmed from 14 states, according to the CDC: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin. And while reported cases stem largely from the Northeast and Upper Midwest, a 2016 study in the peer-reviewed Journal of Medical Entomology found ticks that carry Lyme disease present in nearly half of all U.S. counties.