HIGHLY SENSITIVE AND SPECIFIC LOW-COST LAB-ON-A-CHIP SYSTEM FOR LYME DISEASE DIAGNOSIS
 

ABOUT THE LYME DISEASE

The deer tick (Ixodes ricinus)
The deer tick (Ixodes ricinus)

Many people are not aware of the risks emerging from tick bites and the number of seriously ill patients resulting from tick-borne infectious diseases. Ticks start to be active at 7 °C.

The main risk comes from the "black-legged" or "deer tick" (Ixodes ricinus) which can be found all over Germany and Europe, especially in woodlands. With a bite the tick can transmit the pathogenic borrelia bacteria of the Lyme disease into the human bloodstream. The Dermacentor reticularis tick also increases in population and spatial dimension and is considerably more aggressive than the deer tick.

The symptoms of Lyme disease are broad and range from strong headaches, fever, inflammation of joints and cardiac muscle to infection of the cardiac muscle and depression. It is the easiest way to diagnose and treat a tick-borne disease directly after the tick bite. However, often the patients did not notice the tick bite, as the symptoms only start after days or weeks in many cases and so are not diagnosed and treated correctly.

Patient support groups estimate that about 500,000 to 600,000 people in Germany only are already chronically infected with Lyme disease, with yearly increases of > 50,000 (estimate of the Bavarian State Department for Health and Food Safety). If the Lyme disease is not recognized early enough, the infection can cause severe pain (e.g. chronic joint ailments) and loss of power (up to incapacity).

In contrast to the tick-borne Encephalitis (a virus, TBE) it is not yet possible to get vaccinated against Lyme disease. This is the reason why it is so important to identify the disease early enough. Every sixth to tenth tick bite leads to such a bacteria disease. Every sixth to tenth tick bite leads to such an infection.

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