Kerala: 56-year-old man diagnosed with Lyme disease in Ernakulam

Lyme disease, a vector-borne illness transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks.

BySouth First Desk

Published Mar 13, 2024 | 7:15 PMUpdatedMar 13, 2024 | 7:16 PM

Lyme disease

A private hospital in the Ernakulam district in Kerala confirmed a case of Lyme disease on Wednesday, 13 March.

The disease was confirmed in a 56-year-old man who was being treated at Lisie Hospital in Ernakulam. Lyme disease is a vector-borne illness transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks.

Meanwhile, the District Medical Officer (DMO) of Ernakulam told South First that the case was confirmed.

Although the patient has been discharged, the state health department has opted to monitor him closely and initiate follow-up care.

The patient, a farmer from Koovappady, with no known comorbidities, was admitted to the hospital on 6 December, 2023, with a high-grade fever.

He also reported a two-week history of pain and swelling in his right knee, along with neck stiffness. Upon local examination, superficial ulcers were noted over the scrotum.

The samples of the patient were shared with the National Institute of Virology (NIV) Pune, and the patient was discharged. The NIV on Tuesday, shared the results with the state health department indicating that the samples tested positive for Borrelia IgM, confirming the infection.

This is the second Lyme disease case being reported in the state. The first was reported in 2013.

Also Read: Low immunisation of MMR vaccine leading to mumps outbreak in Kerala

Lyme disease

Lyme disease is an illness caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and rarely Borrelia mayonii.

Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, the infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.

If bitten by an infected tick, symptoms usually start between 3 to 30 days, including a red rash (erythema migrans), fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes.

If the infection is not treated, it can lead to extreme symptoms such as severe headaches, neck stiffness, facial palsy, arthritis with joint pain and swelling, and nerve pain.

Prevention measures for Lyme disease include using insect repellent, promptly removing ticks, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat. Most cases of Lyme disease can be successfully treated with a few weeks of antibiotics if diagnosed early.

(Edited by Muhammed Fazil)