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Example research essay topic: A Study Of Lyme Disease In New Jersey - 1,275 words

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... flu-like symptoms (1: 47). If left untreated, the disease spreads to other parts of the body, and often results in more joint, tendon and muscle pain, partial facial paralysis, and heart palpitations (8: 11). Chronic symptoms can develop if the disease goes untreated for months or years, and leads to severe arthritis and neurological problems (5: 29). The best way to arrive at or exclude a diagnosis of Lyme disease is to examine three aspects of the patient.

The first is to determine if the patient exhibits any of the above symptoms. The second is discover whether or not the patient is at a high risk of contracting the disease. This factor takes into account the environment in which the patient lives, works, or enjoys his recreational activities. It may also include whether or not the patient has a pet that may have brought the ticks into the house (16: 41). The third factor to consider before diagnosing Lyme disease is to perform laboratory tests. The Second National Conference on Serologic Diagnosis of Lyme Disease recommends a two-test approach to determine an active disease or a previous infection.

A physician should perform a sensitive enzyme immunoassay (EIA) or immuno fluorescent assay (IFA). If a patient tests positive on an EIA or IFA then the physician should follow up with a standardized Western immunoblot (15: 937). In its early stages Lyme disease can easily be treated. Clinical studies have shown that a ten day to three week course of antibiotics is nearly 95 percent effective in eliminating the disease (14: 1015).

Amoxicillin and doxycycline are the two most prescribed antibiotics. They replaced the earlier treatments of penicillin and tetracycline because they are more easily absorbed by the intestinal tract and require less frequent dosing (9: 1). Erythromycin, which is less effective than penicillin or tetracycline, is now only used in the treatment of young children, pregnant or nursing women, and those people allergic to penicillins (2: 166). If left untreated and allowed to progress to a later stage, Lyme disease may require to be treated with intravenous antibiotics.

The success rate at this stage drops significantly and often patients will continue to experience chronic symptoms (2: 167). It is important to be aware if you live in or are traveling to a high risk area. Ticks thrive in wooded, bushy, grassy habitats, and particularly in shady and moist areas. Measures to prevent Lyme disease include wearing long sleeves and pants when outdoors, tucking pants into socks, and using repellents -- permethrin (sold as Permanoe) on clothing, and diethyltoluamide (DEET) on exposed areas of skin. The most important means of prevention is a complete inspection of the body at the end of every day spent outdoors.

A tick must be attached to the body for a minimum of 24 hours in order to transmit the disease; therefore if a tick is found upon inspection it is not too late to prevent the disease from being transmitted. If a tick is discovered embedded in the skin it should be removed immediately by grasping the body with a pair of fine tipped tweezers and pulling gently until the tick comes out (4: 31). In 1995 (the last complete year for which figures are available), there 11, 603 cases of Lyme disease reported in the United States by 43 states and the District of Columbia. The overall incidence of the disease was 4. 4 per 100, 000 people. This was the second highest annual number reported since the disease was first tracked in 1982, however it was an 11 % decrease from the 13, 043 cases reported in 1994 (10: 274).

Despite the national decrease, the incidence of Lyme disease in New Jersey has increased steadily since 1992, from 688 cases to 1, 704 in 1995 (6: T- 3). An overall incidence of 21. 1 per 100, 000 people was reported (10: 274). Hunterdon County leads the state and is second among the 3, 300 counties in the nation in the number of cases per 100, 000 residents. In 1995, Hunterdon reported 565 cases.

Morris County was second in the state reporting 232 cases (6: T- 3). FACTORS CONTRIBUTING TO THE HIGH INCIDENCE OF LYME DISEASE IN NEW JERSEY The three main factors contributing to the incidence in New Jersey are the amount of deer present in the state, an increased interaction between people and deer, and an increase in the number of physicians diagnosing and reporting Lyme disease. The number of deer in New Jersey continues to grow every year (17: 41). This population explosion means that there are more deer for the ticks to feed on and infect. This directly relates to the increase in interaction between people and deer. As people move into more wooded areas, they are more likely to come in contact with deer and their habitats.

This provides an opportunity for the ticks to attach themselves to clothing or be found in households (13: 37). The third factor can be attributed to an increase in awareness among doctors to diagnose Lyme disease. After a substantial amount of media attention given to Lyme disease in the late 1980 s and early 1990 s, physicians suddenly began diagnosing the disease in more patients. As an awareness of the symptoms and risk factors of Lyme disease increased, physicians were better able to make a more accurate diagnosis. They were now diagnosing Lyme disease in patients that had previously been untreated (3). It is inevitable that the cases of Lyme disease will continue to increase in New Jersey until more people become aware of the seriousness of the disease.

In recent years, the media has been instrumental in providing the public with pertinent information concerning the symptoms and risk factors involved in the disease. At present, there is no vaccine protecting humans against Lyme disease. The best way to protect oneself against contracting Lyme disease is to prevent a tick from having the opportunity to transmit the infection. Bibliography: 1.

Accerrano, Anthony. Tick, tick. Sports Afield. Aug. 1996. 44 - 47. 2. Barbour, Alan G. , M. D.

Lyme Disease. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996. 3. Fernandez, Bob. New Jersey County Suffering from 2 nd Highest Rate of Lyme Disease. Tribune News Service. 28 Aug. 1994. 4.

Gubler, Diane J. , et al. A Field Guide to Animal-borne Infections. Patient Care. 15 Oct. 1994. 23 - 37. 5. Hearn, Wayne. Lyme Disease Back With a Few New Ticks, er, Tricks.

American Medical News. 22 Jul. 1996. 29 - 30. 6. Its Tick Time. The Record. 23 Jun. 1996. T- 3. 7. Lang, Denise, and Derrick De Silva, Jr. , M.

D. Coping With Lyme Disease. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1993. 8. Lingering Lyme Disease. Science News. 7 Jan. 1995. 11. 9.

Lyme Disease: Treatment Controversies Continue. Health Facts. Jul. 1995. 1 - 2. 10. Lyme Disease -- United States, 1995.

The Journal of the American Medial Association. 24 Jul. 1996. 274. 11. Miller, Sue. Lyme Disease Update. Country Journal.

Jul. -Aug. 1994. 8. 12. Murray, Polly. The Widening Circle. New York: St. Martins Press, 1996. 13. Nelson, Peter.

Deer Watch. National Wildlife. Oct. -Nov. 1994. 34 - 42. 14. Pfister, Hans- Walter, et al. Lyme Borreliosis: Basic Science and Clinical Aspects. The Lancet. 23 Apr. 1994. 1013 - 1017. 15.

Recommendations for test performance and interpretation from the Second National Conference on Serologic Diagnosis of Lyme Disease. The Journal of the American Medical Association. 27 Sept. 1995. 937. 16. Stewart, Kay B. A Quick Look at Lyme Disease. Nursing. Aug. 1994. 41. 17.

Sudo, Phil. The Bambi Boom. Scholastic Update. 16 Apr. 1993. 18.


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