What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is a tick-borne disease caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Established populations of black-legged ticks are known to occur in four counties in Nebraska: Douglas, Sarpy, Saunders, Thurston. In 2021, established black-legged tick populations in Thurston county tested positive for Borrelia burgdorferi. This is the first known detection of this bacteria from ticks collected in Nebraska[HS1] .
Diagnosis is made based on clinical signs and symptoms, as well as the patient's recent activity (travel, contact with high-risk areas, etc.), and can later be confirmed using specialized laboratory tests. The first test is an EIA (enzyme immunoassay). If negative, no further testing is recommended. If positive or indeterminate, a “Western blot" test is recommended. Results are considered positive only if EIA and immunoblot are both positive. Patients treated with appropriate antibiotics (doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime axetil) in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover rapidly and completely. Patients with certain neurological or cardiac forms of illness may require more extensive, intravenous treatment.
For more information on Lyme disease, please visit the CDC Lyme disease website.