Does Bullseye ALWAYS indicate Lyme!?

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sayersn
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 4/8/2012 6:02 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello all,

I'm quite new to this forum and I'd just like to send out this post as my research on Lyme has me confused on an issue.

To be brief, my situation is such: Went camping in Southern Ontario, Canada (to be specific Long Point Provincial Park) last summer where my friends and I camped within a hundred metres of the beach, and were encamped in an area surrounded by bushes and tall grasses. Well this particular region is notorious for Lyme disease and there are many signs warning of the existence Lyme infected ticks in the area.

Long story short, after drinking and spending an inordinate amount of time intoxicated in this bushy/grassy area I went to sleep only to wakeup and realize (while sitting on the beach) that my right arm had the infamous bullseye rash. It wasn't very big relative to other photos of rashes I've seen, perhaps the size an extra large egg. It was also somewhat faint, but it was there and I pointed it out to my girlfriend who also acknowledged it was there. I identified the rash immediately since a friend of mine funnily enough told me to keep a lookout for tick bites which might present as a rash that looks like a bullseye.

Anyway, since then I've been having heaps of symptoms, many of which coincide with those of Borrelia burgdorferi. So, my question for all of you who are kind enough to answer is this:

Is it possible to have the bullseye rash and not be infected with Lyme!? Are there cases where individuals have produced the bullseye rash from a tick not infected with Lyme, or perhaps where the disease did not fully transmit!?

Any and all of your help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks a ton!

Summer3
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 1020
   Posted 4/8/2012 6:54 AM (GMT -6)   
Hello,

A bullseye rash is often transmitted by nymphal stage ticks. Many believe that the nymphal stage ticks are unable to penetrate completely through the skin, therefore, the infection stays confined to the skin INITIALLY (before spreading to other parts of the body) and produces the signature rash. The bullseye rash is caused by the Lyme bacteria disseminating in the skin. It is extremely unlikely to have a bullseye rash after being in a tick infested area and not develop Lyme disease. Most, if not all doctors (not just LLMD's) will agree to that.

Adult ticks rarely if ever cause a bullseye rash. A microbiologist presented her theory on why this is recently. She said that the adult ticks are able to penetrate all the layers of skin and inject the bacteria directly into a person's blood stream. Therefore, people often develop Lyme disease from the bites of adult ticks but never have the signature rash because the infection was not initially confined to the skin.

One study showed that a small amount of doxycycline could clear or stop the progression of the rash. The study did not examine if the prophylactic dose would prevent the occurrence of Lyme disease symptoms.

The problem that you are going to have now is getting a standard doctor to take your word for it when it comes to the rash. Most regular doctors feel like they have to see the rash in person with their own eyes or have a positive test result in order to treat with even the lowest amounts of antibiotics in short durations. Standard Lyme testing is very inaccurate and misses a large percentage of people who have Lyme disease. Most doctors do not properly clinically diagnose for Lyme.

The standard treatment of a short course of low dose antibiotics is often ineffective. Especially if you have been infected for a longer length of time (like since last summer). Therefore, your best option would be to find a Lyme-literate doctor. From what I've heard, they are rare in Canada, but someone here may know of one.

As someone who definitely waited too long after known tick bites (years) and went on to develop very severe symptoms, my advice is to head to a LLMD first and not waste any time with doctors who have not done extensive research on Lyme disease.

Post Edited (Summer3) : 4/8/2012 6:02:27 AM (GMT-6)


springsjean
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 2050
   Posted 4/8/2012 8:14 AM (GMT -6)   
Yes bulls eye by itself is diagnostic for lyme disease. Once presented with a bulls eye, doctors should immediately treat with antibiotics. It does not take long for the disease to disseminate in the body so getting started on treatment is crucial. Like any disease, everyone's body reacts differently. It is common with lyme for some to get sick initially with flu like symptoms and then the disease remains dormant only to return later in life and tricks people into believing they have another disease.

Research as much as you can and get to a dr. who specializes in lyme (LLMD). The quicker you get treated, the better chance you have to have minimal residuals. Best of luck to you.
Co-Moderator
Lyme, HME, HGE, bartonella. 4+ years undiag. despite 10 drs.
Current meds: neurontin, cymbalta Prior meds: roxy, bactrim, doryx, amantadine, amox, minocycline, tetracy. IV refused by ins. Supplements: boluoke, alpha lipoic acid, AG immune, magnesium, milk thistle, resistant microbes, grapefruit seed ext.

sayersn
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 4/8/2012 12:49 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks so much for your in depth responses! My issue is that this happened last July, and my doctor doesn't believe I have Lyme. I couldn't present the bullseye rash to him since it only last a couple of days and disappeared, and then it didn't occur to me that I might have Lyme until a couple of months after. Now it has been 9 months and I am eager to have the Western Blot test as I understand it becomes less sensitive in under 12months (IGg titres). I believe I have no option at this point but to go through Igenex as the testing in Canada is skewed and even more so when you have a non-compliant doctor.

Tickle
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2012
Total Posts : 150
   Posted 4/8/2012 1:22 PM (GMT -6)   
Last July I had two bullseye rashes on my thigh. I was away on vacation at the time, and by the time I got home they were gone, and I had forgotten all about them. I had NO idea about lyme or bullseye rashes. They were about 3 inches around, and very distinctly bullseye.

I started getting symptoms, travelling muscle aches, recurring headaches, debilitating fatigue , 'lyme fog', blurry vision, eyelids twitching, skipped - or delayed heart beats, and so on. Kept going to the doctor with each symptom, because they were so unusual to me. He kept attributing things like depression, stress, etc to them.

Finally, a little over a month ago, I saw the bullseye rash online and learned that it was a lyme rash.

Went back to the doctor and he was NOT receptive to that idea. He did, after a couple visits, write down "lyme" on a lab sheet for a blood test. Elisa test. Negative.

Just went to a ND who does the Igenex testing and will wait 2 - 3 weeks for the results.

PS, seems like none of the doctors will take my word about the rashes.

What a nest of hornets to step in by contracting lyme! Good luck with your journey, and keep us updated with how things are going!

Post Edited (Tickle) : 4/8/2012 12:25:30 PM (GMT-6)


waverunner
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 123
   Posted 4/8/2012 5:08 PM (GMT -6)   
Thanks for that explanation Summer. That makes SO much sense, the nymphal stage lymes bites, and adult tick lyme bites. I love to learn this stuff. Good ammo.

sayersn
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 4/8/2012 6:11 PM (GMT -6)   
That's really interesting, Tickle. That's more or less what I've been feeling with the exception of a few odd symptoms. Namely, I've had two Ultrasounds done recently due to abdominal pain and I was told I had an enlarged spleen the first time, while the second doctor (a general surgeon) looked over the 2nd results comparing the two and determining that it wasn't enlarged, but instead was 13.1 cm so it's borderline or normal. However, everything I've found online indicates that 13.1 cm's would be considered mildly enlarged. Has anyone else here ever suffered an enlarged spleen due to Lyme??

Summer3
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 1020
   Posted 4/8/2012 7:19 PM (GMT -6)   
I don't know if I have an enlarged spleen. I never had it checked, but I do know someone locally who lost their spleen to Lyme.

waverunner
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2012
Total Posts : 123
   Posted 4/8/2012 9:20 PM (GMT -6)   
Here's a good rash link.
http://sites.google.com/site/marylandlyme/rashes--photos

sayersn
Regular Member


Date Joined Apr 2012
Total Posts : 58
   Posted 4/8/2012 9:39 PM (GMT -6)   
That's quite interesting. I've read that an enlarged spleen can be a symptom of Lyme. Sadly, I have nothing but medical websites and forums through which to learn about Lyme, but I'm glad to see how helpful and informative everyone is on this site. Also, waverunner I tried looking at the photos as they provide excellent insight into the skin manifestations of chronic Lyme. I couldn't however enlarge any of the photos as they're no longer available on picasa it seems.

I was also curious as to how long it took for any of you before you noticed Lyme symptoms. Did you have a flu-like symptoms immediately? Or was it a gradual progression? And about how many months, or years even, did it take before becoming symptomatic?

Summer3
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2011
Total Posts : 1020
   Posted 4/8/2012 10:17 PM (GMT -6)   
In my case, my doctor believes that I have had Lyme for years and then became re-infected (around the time that my symptoms drastically increased).

I am bitten by several ticks every year. I had joint pain and fatigue since at least 2004 but no other major symptoms. I never had anything checked until last fall. I had about 3 tick bites between the spring and late summer. In the fall, I came down with an extremely high fever (105) that wouldn't respond to OTC fever reducers along with severe flu-like symptoms. I would say that fever was about 4-6 weeks after the last known tick bite I had.

Over the next few months, despite a few short courses of antibiotics, my symptoms dramatically increased and worsened.
I never had a bullseye rash, but I had other atypical rashes. I had a positive western blot and a very low CD57 which is another test that some doctors use to help validate Lyme.

I went from being able to run long distances daily, to barely able to make it down the driveway between September and December. I am still declining with some of my other symptoms, but I'm hoping to get on the right treatment plan soon.

I think the onset is different for everyone. Some believe that once infected, Lyme can be dormant or in cystic form in your body for very long lengths of time and surface when your immune system is compromised, often during times of stress.

KaliDhi
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 70
   Posted 4/9/2012 7:05 PM (GMT -6)   
My spleen is my #1 issue. I don't know much about it because I am treating naturally but my doc is constantly mentioning my spleen as my weakest part.

rowingmom
Veteran Member


Date Joined Dec 2011
Total Posts : 613
   Posted 4/9/2012 8:51 PM (GMT -6)   
If you live in Ontario there are no MD's that are allowed to treat Lyme. There are some ND in BC that can Rx Abx. Go to the CanLyme website and to the World-Wide Support finder on the left. A volunteer will give you the name of LLMD's available in the US closest to your location. A lot of LLMD's use a compination of abx/herbal remedies/homeopathic remedies to address the problem. Get ready to purchase a lot of supplements that are not covered by insurance/OHIP (if you are in Ontario). The quicker you start treatment the better.

My 10yo daughter was negative on the Canadian ELISA but positive for lyme/bartonella on Igenex. Our family Dr would not accept the Igenex test as valid. We are having her treated in Buffalo, with no help available from OHIP.

borderlyme
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Jul 2011
Total Posts : 1347
   Posted 4/9/2012 9:37 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi sayersn - I just wanted to say welcome to the forum! Like the others said, the earlier you treat it, the better. Lyme disease can be confusing and overwhelming, and most of it makes the most sense in hindsight. There's a lot of really great information in the "new to lyme" thread that'll probably help a bit - including information about detoxing which can help alleviate some of your symptoms right away.

I know finding treatment in Canada can be a challenge - definitely take a look at the [url]http://www.canlyme.com/canlyme[/urlp] website, and you may also want to try posting a new thread that you're looking for a doctor in your area as we have quite a few members from Canada here.

I've had periodic spleen enlargement - I was always told it was due to my chronic EBV (though it could well be the lyme instead) - not to overwhelm you but that might be something to look into. Unfortunately it's not uncommon for people infected with lyme to also have other bacterial and viral infections as well.

As far as how long it takes to show symptoms...it depends on the person and a million other factors. I got bit when I was 10, and had vague symptoms from that point on - at first just an increase in colds/flus (supposedly) and then roughly 2 years later the joint pain and shortness of breath started, then it went downhill from there until I got diagnosed. No one put 2 and 2 together until many years later - I don't want to see the same thing happen to you! It's a shame that doctors don't catch on sooner and that information isn't more readily available. You have to be very proactive about your own health when it comes to lyme, and don't take no for an answer! I know it's frustrating, but that's what we're all here for!
Co-Moderator, Lyme Disease Forum
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