Lyme Disease – Cause, Symptoms and Treatment
The incidence of the tick-born infection Lyme disease has quadrupled in the UK in the last 12 years according to an article in the Daily Telegraph
Lyme disease is caused by a species of bacteria called Borrelia which is transmitted to humans through bites from the Deer tick Ixodes Scapularis. The disease is endemic in many rural areas but is now encroaching on suburban cities and parklands, especially those in which deer reside.
The infection can cause early symptoms of fever, headaches, lethargy and joint pains, but untreated can lead to death. The classical appearance of a slowly expanding red rash arising in the tick-bite area is how dermatologists usually make the diagnosis. This red patch occurs about a week after the bite and expands slowly without symptoms. The condition is called ‘erythema chronicum migrans’ and warrants investigation and treatment as soon as possible.
If you are worried you might have this rash, please consult a consultant dermatologist at the soonest opportunity.
Melanoma drug combination approved in Europe
The drugs dabrafenib (Tafinlar, Novartis) and trametinib (Mekinist, Novartis) have been approved by European authorities for use in combination in the treatment of advanced melanoma.
These ‘biological’ drugs are able to target very specific molecules found within tumours, their genes or the immune system and elicit powerful responses resulting in tumour destruction or suppression of tumour spread.
Although the survival benefit is currently measured in months, this is a promising step in the treatment of advanced melanoma, which for the last 40 years or so has had very little by way of effective new treatment
Currently, the best way to treat melanoma is to catch it early. If you are worried about a changing mole, please see a dermatologist at the soonest opportunity, because if caught early, melanoma can be cured.