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Lyme disease prophylaxis.

Should a person with a tick bite automatically receive doxycycline, an antibiotic, to hopefully prevent Lyme disease? According to infectious disease specialist Sean O'Leary, MD, of The Children's Hospital and University of Colorado, Denver, not necessarily. A reaction to the antibiotic is the major concern.

In order to consider antibiotic prophylaxis, it first must be established that the tick is an adult or nymphal Ixodes scapularis, commonly known as the deer tick. In addition, the tick has to have been attached for more than 36 hours as judged by how engorged it is with blood. Lastly, the local rate of this tick species carrying Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, must be over 20%. Only if these three criteria are met should antibiotic prophylaxis be considered. There's no hurry in starting the antibiotic--it can safely be started up to 72 hours after the tick has been removed. As with an antibiotic, there is the risk of potentially serious side effects.

According to Dr. O'Leary, "In general, the risks of prophylaxis far outweigh any potential benefit."

Pediatric News, 09/10

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Publication:Pediatrics for Parents
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2010
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