Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Student Scholarship


Lyme Disease

Date Written

Summer 2015

Document Type


Course Number

NURS 5330

Course Name

Advanced Pathophysiology

Professor’s Name

John D. Chovan, James R. Cacchillo


Vector borne illnesses, Spirochetes, Borrelia burgdorferi

Subject Categories

Bacterial Infections and Mycoses | Medical Pathology | Medicine and Health Sciences | Nursing


Lyme disease is the most common vector borne illness found in the United States. Each year 30,000 people are diagnosed with the disease, with many more cases going unreported (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015). The vector responsible for spreading the disease is the deer tick. The infection itself is caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria is transmitted through the saliva from the bite of a deer tick. Diagnosis can be challenging due to the fact that multiple systems of the body can be affected with different severities. Early diagnosis and treatment is critical in the prevention of progressive and chronic illness. Lyme disease is a relevant issue of rural Northeast Ohio. The prevalence of the disease is not as common as the high risk areas in the New England states. However, deer ticks can easily be found in any woods close to home. This disease requires more awareness and research within the healthcare community. The pathology of the disease is understood, but details of exactly how Borrelia burgdorferi affects certain areas of the body such as the nervous system remains unclear (Halperin, 2014). More importantly physicians and advanced practice nurses in this area need educated on signs and symptoms of the disease so a timely diagnosis can be made. Treatment is simple and complications are preventable with early diagnosis. Borrelia burgdorferi has been extensively researched, but more information is needed to fully understand how this bacteria has mastered the ability to evade human immunity (Kenedy, Lenhart, & Akins, 2012).



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