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Old 29.09.2008, 13:11
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Help, Lyme Disease

I just went to the Doctor and he told me I had Lyme Disease from a tick bite. The scary part is I never saw or felt a tick on me. It is on my leg and a rash developed. We don't have lyme disease where I come from. Has anyone else contracted this here? How common is it? Should I be really worried?
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Old 29.09.2008, 13:18
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I just went to the Doctor and he told me I had Lyme Disease from a tick bite. The scary part is I never saw or felt a tick on me. It is on my leg and a rash developed. We don't have lyme disease where I come from. Has anyone else contracted this here? How common is it? Should I be really worried?
Ah yes... with the wonderful natural scenery in Switzerland come the naturally nasty bugs. Lyme disease is caused by the transfer of bacteria (Borrelia genus) into your blood system via the tick bite.

If caught early on one need not worry. Just be sure you finish the entire course of antibiotics you have been given and all will be fine. The risk of contracting lyme disease here is certainly high, particularly so if you enjoy spring and summer hikes as the ticks occur naturally in the grass and scrubbery.

PS: this is what would have bitten you (or very similar), really small and very difficult to see unless you're really looking for them on your body.
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Old 29.09.2008, 13:18
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Re: Help, Lyme Disease

I would go back to the doctor and ask for a full prognosis in your case plus what kind of treatment you will undergo.

You can read a lot of scary stuff on the internet and, having read threads from another Swiss expat forum, there is a lot of misinformation and scaremongering.

It depends on at what stage your Lyme disease is at and how you respond to treatment.
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Old 29.09.2008, 13:25
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Re: Help, Lyme Disease

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I would go back to the doctor and ask for a full prognosis in your case plus what kind of treatment you will undergo.

You can read a lot of scary stuff on the internet and, having read threads from another Swiss expat forum, there is a lot of misinformation and scaremongering.

It depends on at what stage your Lyme disease is at and how you respond to treatment.
I would do what Sandgrounder says, and make sure you take all the antibiotics this is very important.

Hope you get better soon.
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Old 29.09.2008, 13:36
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Re: Help, Lyme Disease

I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease in similar circumstances....I went to the dermatologist with a rash on my leg. I had no awareness of having been bitten by a tick but the blood test was positive. I took the antibiotics, had another blood test and that was the end of the story. Nothing to get excited about.
Which is not to say that it can't be a very serious and frightening disease if not diagnosed and treated soon enough.
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Old 29.09.2008, 13:39
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Re: Help, Lyme Disease

Okay, first thing is don't panic. I got bitten by a tick in the Spring and it transmitted Lymes to me. Your doctor should have taken a blood test from you and sent that off to the lab. He shouldn't have waited for the result to start the course of antibiotics because it can take several days to get the results. If you went to see him whilst the rash is still visible then in all likelihood you have caught the disease in it's early stages and the antibiotics will do the trick. The test results should not only confirm whether you have the disease but also the level it has reached in your blood. There is a scale. If your doctor doesn't have the results back yet then he has nothing more to tell you other than to reassure you that the disease caught in the early stages can be treated by antibiotics. If he has the results back then he should be able to give you more information about the stage you are at. I went a week or so after I first noticed the rash and like you I never noticed I'd been bitten. The reading of level of infection was low and nothing else needed to be done but finish the course of antibiotics.
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Old 29.09.2008, 14:09
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Re: Help, Lyme Disease

Thanks for the advice. I am hoping I can get rid of it. I have already switched Doctors because I wasn't able to understand the 1st Dr. I hope it was caught early on but I had the rash awhile before going in. It's really scary reading all the information online about it. Does anyone know a lyme disease specialist?
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Old 29.09.2008, 14:14
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Re: Help, Lyme Disease

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I just went to the Doctor and he told me I had Lyme Disease from a tick bite. The scary part is I never saw or felt a tick on me. It is on my leg and a rash developed. We don't have lyme disease where I come from. Has anyone else contracted this here? How common is it? Should I be really worried?
I think that you should worry, but not too much. First thing that awaits you is the blood test and likely the lumbar punction (to check if the bacteria had crossed the blood/brain border).

Antibiotic therapy is looong, but necessary. You should be given the antibiotic coctail (in the beginning probably injections).

And you have to remember that Borelia is not 100% curable. The bacteria can be supressed and the active forms eliminated, but there are other forms that can remain asleep and reactivate after number of years - for this reason you will have to make control tests from time to time.
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Old 29.09.2008, 14:32
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Re: Help, Lyme Disease

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I just went to the Doctor and he told me I had Lyme Disease from a tick bite. The scary part is I never saw or felt a tick on me. It is on my leg and a rash developed. We don't have lyme disease where I come from. Has anyone else contracted this here? How common is it? Should I be really worried?

Out of curiousity, were you immunized against ticks? It is a series of 3 shots. It is highly recommended in high risk areas. Unfortunately many people are not aware of this and think if they don't walk dogs in the forest, they don't need to be immunized. This is really a myth. Everyone in our family had their shots, and I also protect our dogs (they wear special collars). Nothing is 100% effective, unfortunately.

Wishing you a speedy recovery.
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Old 29.09.2008, 14:36
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Out of curiousity, were you immunized against ticks? It is a series of 3 shots. It is highly recommended in high risk areas. Unfortunately many people are not aware of this and think if they don't walk dogs in the forest, they don't need to be immunized. This is really a myth. Everyone in our family had their shots, and I also protect our dogs (they wear special collars). Nothing is 100% effective, unfortunately.
There is no vaccine against Borrelia. You can get vaccine against encephalitis.
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Old 29.09.2008, 14:42
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Re: Help, Lyme Disease

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I think that you should worry, but not too much. First thing that awaits you is the blood test and likely the lumbar punction (to check if the bacteria had crossed the blood/brain border).

Antibiotic therapy is looong, but necessary. You should be given the antibiotic coctail (in the beginning probably injections).

And you have to remember that Borelia is not 100% curable. The bacteria can be supressed and the active forms eliminated, but there are other forms that can remain asleep and reactivate after number of years - for this reason you will have to make control tests from time to time.
I think this only applies to the disease in its later stages. From the OP's post it sounds like they caught it early on and the blood test has already been done. According to a couple of posters earlier up the thread who have indeed been infected, it would seem that a course of antibiotics at this stage is all that is needed.
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Old 29.09.2008, 14:47
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Re: Help, Lyme Disease

Take the full course of antibiotics as prescribed. It goes away. End of story.
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Old 29.09.2008, 15:06
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Re: Help, Lyme Disease

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Take the full course of antibiotics as prescribed. It goes away. End of story.

I am hoping this is the case but I had the rash about 6-8 weeks before being diagnosed. I wasn't aware of the rash being a sign of a tick bite, I wish I would have known.
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Old 29.09.2008, 15:29
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Re: Help, Lyme Disease

Even 6-8 weeks should be no problem. A couple of friends had it at least this long and the antibiotics killed it off.

Perhaps worth thinking about in future if you regularly venture into tick infested areas is stopping the bas***ds in the first place. Long trousers help apparently (seems they like to drop onto exposed skin only) and if this isn't possible mosquito repellent (DEET containing) can also help. Worked this out when I checked out the ingredient list on a can of tick repellent and realised that the only truly active one was DEET - except they were selling it at 2 or 3 times the price. Works for me, anyway.

Also worth doing a thorough self check when you return from a forest walk, particularly in all those little skin crevasses that they seem to like (behind knees, crotch area, etc.). If you get the tick before 6 hours has elapsed since the bite the chance of transmission is pretty well nil.
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Old 30.09.2008, 10:25
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Re: Help, Lyme Disease

They are wiley little sods, girl has been 'ticked' twice, both times she was wearing full length trousers and had been sprayed with repelent. Once was on her stomach, goodness knows how, she had a top tucked into her trousers and once she found one in her armpit.
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Old 08.06.2020, 11:01
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Re: Help, Lyme Disease

Just to add to this thread for this year; maybe a "good" year for ticks after a relatively mild winter?

At the end of May was cycling near Moudon VD(involved a bit of off road gravel riding) and came home to find I had a tick attached at waistband level. I did not stop whilst riding, and don't remember brushing past undergrowth (although I must have done because ticks don't jump or fly!) I have no idea how it ended up where it did.

Anyway, after removing the un-engorged tick I used the Swiss tick phone app, logged it and sent it off for research. It can't have been on me for more than about 4-5 hours tops. Then I waited to see what would happen. I didn't expect Lyme to be a problem as I thought ticks had to feed to be able to transmit the bug. I have since found research papers showing that ticks can carry borrelia in their saliva and animal studies have shown these can be transmitted before feeding takes place....although increasing time being attached does of course increase the risk.

The initial mark around the attatchment site was about 2cm in diameter. After 10 days, a ring of flat red spots began appearing around the initial bite (about 5cm in diameter) Not a classic bullseye rash, but still an expanding one from the initial bite. I went to the doctor on day 12 (1st appt I could get) and was prescribed 10 days doxycycline (100mg twice a day). No bloods were taken, presumably because it would be too early to pick up a systemic antibody reaction....and (fingers crossed) the borrelia will be localised.

Current UK NICE guideline suggest 21 days treatment with doxycycline. I can only find one research paper carried out in Slovakia that compared outcomes for patients that had been given 10 and 14 days of this antibiotic for Stage 1 Lyme. The study was small (about 250 patients) and although there was a difference between groups, it wasn't significant. However it was a small study, so that weakens the results (I think?). So I wonder where the Swiss doctors get their advice from, and whether I can ask for a slightly longer course (even just 4-5 days) to be sure of getting this thing early........I feel like a right pain as a patient, but also, feel it's important to be your own advocate!
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Old 08.06.2020, 11:10
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Re: Help, Lyme Disease

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Current UK NICE guideline suggest 21 days treatment with doxycycline. I can only find one research paper carried out in Slovakia that compared outcomes for patients that had been given 10 and 14 days of this antibiotic for Stage 1 Lyme. The study was small (about 250 patients) and although there was a difference between groups, it wasn't significant. However it was a small study, so that weakens the results (I think?). So I wonder where the Swiss doctors get their advice from, and whether I can ask for a slightly longer course (even just 4-5 days) to be sure of getting this thing early........I feel like a right pain as a patient, but also, feel it's important to be your own advocate!
They usually prescribe this antibiotic for 12-16 days. I had the same discussion with my (Swiss) GP and she said it's sufficient and there's no need to prescribe it for a longer period. If you discovered the rash very soon and it's in a very incipient phase, you don't need to worry.
(btw, I don't think they get their info from only one study)

Edit: in CH it is considered an accident, you might want to let your insurance company know about this event i.e. aprox. date and place where it happened. For real.

Last edited by greenmount; 08.06.2020 at 11:31.
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Old 08.06.2020, 13:22
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Re: Help, Lyme Disease

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Just to add to this thread for this year; maybe a "good" year for ticks after a relatively mild winter?

At the end of May was cycling near Moudon VD(involved a bit of off road gravel riding) and came home to find I had a tick attached at waistband level. I did not stop whilst riding, and don't remember brushing past undergrowth (although I must have done because ticks don't jump or fly!) I have no idea how it ended up where it did.

Anyway, after removing the un-engorged tick I used the Swiss tick phone app, logged it and sent it off for research. It can't have been on me for more than about 4-5 hours tops. Then I waited to see what would happen. I didn't expect Lyme to be a problem as I thought ticks had to feed to be able to transmit the bug. I have since found research papers showing that ticks can carry borrelia in their saliva and animal studies have shown these can be transmitted before feeding takes place....although increasing time being attached does of course increase the risk.

The initial mark around the attatchment site was about 2cm in diameter. After 10 days, a ring of flat red spots began appearing around the initial bite (about 5cm in diameter) Not a classic bullseye rash, but still an expanding one from the initial bite. I went to the doctor on day 12 (1st appt I could get) and was prescribed 10 days doxycycline (100mg twice a day). No bloods were taken, presumably because it would be too early to pick up a systemic antibody reaction....and (fingers crossed) the borrelia will be localised.

Current UK NICE guideline suggest 21 days treatment with doxycycline. I can only find one research paper carried out in Slovakia that compared outcomes for patients that had been given 10 and 14 days of this antibiotic for Stage 1 Lyme. The study was small (about 250 patients) and although there was a difference between groups, it wasn't significant. However it was a small study, so that weakens the results (I think?). So I wonder where the Swiss doctors get their advice from, and whether I can ask for a slightly longer course (even just 4-5 days) to be sure of getting this thing early........I feel like a right pain as a patient, but also, feel it's important to be your own advocate!
I was on antibiotics for about 15 days and it seemed to go away but I was still worried. There is a specialist in Zurich (Dr. Norbert Satz) who I go to. He can take your blood and let you know the results etc.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 08.06.2020 at 16:24. Reason: fixed weird spacing
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Old 08.06.2020, 13:41
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Re: Help, Lyme Disease

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I was on antibiotics for about 15 days and it seemed to go away but I was still worried. There is a specialist in Zurich (Dr. Norbert Satz) who I go to. He can take your blood and let you know the results etc.
Did you need another round of antibiotics? (I hope you don't mind me asking)
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Old 08.06.2020, 18:09
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They usually prescribe this antibiotic for 12-16 days. I had the same discussion with my (Swiss) GP and she said it's sufficient and there's no need to prescribe it for a longer period. If you discovered the rash very soon and it's in a very incipient phase, you don't need to worry.
(btw, I don't think they get their info from only one study)
Thank you! I think I'll ask for a few more days. Maybe she'll prescribe just to shut me up and stop me worrying so much. And (more importantly) as there seems some variability in guidelines. I know their advice won't be based on one study and that my literature search will have been very inadequate, but it's just I mentioned 21 days from the 2018 NICE guidelines and she said, "No, 10", and that was that.
I found out about tick bites being treated under "accident" by insurance cs from a previous post, but thanks again This forum is very useful

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I was on antibiotics for about 15 days and it seemed to go away but I was still worried. There is a specialist in Zurich (Dr. Norbert Satz) who I go to. He can take your blood and let you know the results etc.
Thank you . I will ask for 15 days and hope my doc agrees. Nice to have a specialist to consult just in case...although if I take this slightly extended course and the rash goes and I feel 100% still, I think I'll try to forget it!

Last edited by MusicChick; 08.06.2020 at 18:49. Reason: merging consecutive posts
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