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Tennis5tar's avatar

Can a bullseye rash be attributed to anything other than Lyme Disease?

Asked by Tennis5tar (1260points) October 19th, 2008
19 responses
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gailcalled's avatar

If you live in tick country and have noticed the very distinctive bullseye rash, I would assume Lyme or at least a trip to Doc’s for prophylactic antibiotic. I have only seen the Lyme bull’s eye – it is certainly hard-to-miss, but IANA doctor. Nasty photos are all Lyme or Lyme-related.

I picked both a crawling Lyme tick and a horribly embedded and engorged one from my cat the day I was supposed to apply a new app of Frontline. The ticks are nasty and sneaky and hardy little buggers.

There are several other tick-related diseases; all bad.
Rocky Mountain spotted fever

Tennis5tar's avatar

The area I live in isn’t a known ‘hot spot’ for Lyme. But I was bitten and had the bullseye rash after taking part in cross country and football. I live in quite a rural area. That was 2 and a half years ago. I was told I had GAD and they wrote off the symptoms I’ve been experiencing as side effects of that. I didn’t tell my GP about the rash, because I didn’t know anything about Lymes at that time. I just assumed it was a bite from something the cat brought in. Having looked at wiki (not the most reliable source, I know) and a few other places, I think it might be best to get an appointment for a blood test. Just to be on the safe side.

Thank you for your response. Those photos are nasty!

gailcalled's avatar

Lyme disease symptoms can easily generate GAD, I promise you. I live in the epicenter of L/D in the US. NYS 12037. Friends of mine have contracted L/D six or seven times. The first time I found an embedded and engorged tick on me, I had hysterics. Now I have the alcohol, the special tweezers and a new-found resolve.

The tick is traveling; Canada has a site; where are you? In the UK? Here’s their site;

Tennis5tar's avatar

Yes, I’m in the UK. That you for the link. I’ll book an appointment with my GP tomorrow, then.

Thank you ever so much for your help.

gailcalled's avatar

I hope that your doc. is up on the sophisticated blood tests. There is more than one if the first results are ambivalent. Good luck. Let us know.

Info on blood tests.

Tennis5tar's avatar

Me too. I will let you know.

marinelife's avatar

Please persevere, TennisStar. Untreated Lyme Disease can have devastating effects later.

Good luck.

rowenaz's avatar

I don’t mean to scare, – but it also depends on where the bulls-eye is. If it’s on a boob, around the nipple, it could be a sign of something more serious – especially if the chest area changes shape or swells. Although Inflammatory Breast Cancer is rare, is can present itself in that way, along with a burning or itching feeling. Glad you are seeing the Doc – hope it’s nothing serious.

shilolo's avatar

Let me be the voice of reason here. This bite and rash were 2 and a half years ago? You didn’t see a tick, either, right? Do you have any symptoms now, like joint aches or generalized fatigue?

Basically, what I am trying to say is that if you live in a low probability area, and the event was more than 2 years ago, and you don’t have any symptoms, then I doubt highly that you have lyme disease. Even chronic lyme symptoms manifest a few months after the bite. Be wary of any blood test results, either way.

Note: I am an Infectious Disease doctor.

Tennis5tar's avatar

@rowenaz: It was on my leg, so there’s no chance it’s that.

@shilolo: No, I did not see the tick. I have joint pain and aches, muscle aches as well as generalised fatigue. I was recently rested for RA, liver/kidney function, thyroid activity and Glandular Fever. Thankfuly all of them came back clear, which is good, although I’m still left without answers.
Thank you for your advice.

gailcalled's avatar

Shi: What about the Western blot? It shows a lot of different titres.

@Tennis; you mean tested and not bed rest?

Tennis5tar's avatar

@gailcalled: I do indeed mean tested. My typing goes a bit haywire on occasion.

shilolo's avatar

@Gail. The Western blot is actually a test to see if you have made antibodies to a number of Borrelia burgodorferi (Lyme) antigens (proteins). It isn’t a titre, per se. It needs to be done be a solid laboratory, as the interpretation of negative, equivocal and positive depends on the type and number of positive bands. This website claims very few cases in the UK (~800 cases in 2006), so, while possible, I think the likelihood is low.

Tennis5tar's avatar

I just got the results back and the levels were normal.

shilolo's avatar

@Tennis5star. Good news (not that I am surprised).

litlbren's avatar

My 3 yr old son just developed a bullseye rash on his arm yesterday. I first noticed it 2 days ago when it was just a raised red spot..looked like a very large mosquito bite. Then yesterday it was much larger and the exact picture of a tick bite bullseye rash. I took him to the Dr immediately and she said it could be a tick bite but without a tick present she was unsure. She did bloodwork to check for Lyme disease but I think she should have at least started him on an antibiotic to play it safe. I suggested that and she refused. I am very worried…should I take him to get a 2nd opinion? If the BW can give a false negative…doesnt being cautious with an antibiotic make sense?!

gailcalled's avatar

The blood work doesn’t show the Lyme titer for several weeks after the bite. I would get a second opinion because of your son’s age. Everyone here free bases on Lyme-related antibiotics because the long-term effects of untreated Lyme are very nasty and very tenacious.

There are also several other nasty related tick-borne diseases; Erlichiosis and Babesiosis(and rarely Rocky Mt. spotted fever). I’d err on the side of caution. Where do you live?

More info

shilolo's avatar

@gailcalled I disagree with the “freebasing” of antibiotics and the concern over the other tick-borne diseases. There are severe consequences to extensive antibiotic usage (for instance, I just read in Clinical Infectious Disease of a woman who died from a complication of antibiotic use for Lyme disease which she never had). I assume that the doctor who treated this 3 year old would know the incidence of lyme, and if it were endemic in that region, would start a short course of antibiotics empirically.

gailcalled's avatar

@shilolo: I was not advocating the endless courses of antibiotics that many people here seem to be on; I was simply reporting. I agree with you.

And I think it is no longer a good idea to assume that doctors do have all the information they need to make informed decisions. Plus the fact that there seems to be studies that contradict each other.

A case in point is the recent correlation between high (over 1000 IU/daily) doses of D3 and pancreatic cancer. The article appeared in the July 2010 issue of the Am. Journal of Epidemiology. Recommendation was to keep the 25 OH levels at 30 ng/ml or below.

My dermatologist, on the other hand, is taking 5000IU/daily and wants to raise his 25 OH to between 75 and 80 ng/ml. He said that he had just been to a conference where someone advocated the higher dosages. ‘Tis a puzzlement

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