Travellers visiting areas affected by Lyme disease should take precautions against tick bites as the Centers for Disease Control on Thursday confirmed this year's first imported case of the zoonotic disease transmitted to humans.
The patient, a 53-year-old Swedish man, developed fatigue and knee pain in early August before seeking medical attention in Taiwan on Aug. 17, the CDC said.
Tests showed the patient has contracted Lyme disease, very possibly during his trip to Sweden between July and August, according to the agency, adding that he has recovered.
CDC data shows that countries with a higher incidence of Lyme disease include Slovenia, Lithuania, Estonia, and the Czech Republic. In Sweden, Lyme disease is frequently reported along the coast of the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Bothnian.
The CDC cautioned that people who plan to visit affected areas should apply prevention measures -- including wearing protective clothing such as long-sleeve shirts, tucking pants into socks, applying insect repellent, and changing clothes or taking a shower immediately after walking in areas with tall grass and thick brush to reduce the risk of infection.
So far since 2007, a total of 11 cases of Lyme disease have been confirmed in Taiwan and all of them were imported cases. No deaths associated with Lyme disease have been reported, the CDC said.
Lyme disease can be transmitted through the bite of infected ticks, but it is not infectious from person to person, the agency explained.
The incubation period of Lyme disease varies from 3 to 32 days, and early signs after a bite by an infected tick include cold-like symptoms such as headache, fever, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, and neck stiffness, it said.
The CDC warned that without treatment, complications involving the heart and nervous system could occur.
Source: Focus Taiwan