Stories about: infectious disease

Effective use of antibiotics starts with a complete allergy history

Effective antibiotic use starts with allergy history
PHOTO: ADOBE STOCK

This week is Antibiotic Awareness Week, a week focused on using antibiotics appropriately to provide the best clinical outcomes and avoid antibiotic resistance.

As physicians who care for patients with antibiotic resistant infections and those with antibiotic allergies, we know that there are real clinical advantages to being able to use “narrow” beta-lactam antibiotics such as amoxicillin. In fact, for many diagnoses, patients have better outcomes when they are treated with beta-lactam antibiotics that are targeted to their specific bacteria.  …Read More

Lyme disease: What to know, how to treat and when to refer

Image of the deer tick, which transmits Lyme disease
Lyme disease is transmitted by the deer tick.

We asked pediatric infectious disease specialist Catherine Lachenauer, MD, of the Boston Children’s Hospital Division of Infectious Diseases, to answer some frequently-asked questions about Lyme disease in children. Here’s what she had to say:

How common is Lyme disease and what are some early symptoms?

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne infection in the US. The number of reported cases has been rising over the years.

One of the best recognized and earliest symptoms of Lyme disease is the erythema migrans, or EM rash, that may appear within the first month (usually within the first two weeks) following the tick bite.  The EM rash occurs at the site of the bite, typically as a circular red rash that enlarges over the course of several days.  Often, there is clearing as the rash enlarges such that it appears as a “bullseye,” although it may also be a solid, or confluent, rash.  Patients may also have non-specific, flu-like symptoms including fever, headache, joint aches and fatigue, as early symptoms of Lyme disease.

A tick needs to be attached for at least 48 hours to transmit the Lyme-causing bacteria

What are some later-stage symptoms of Lyme disease in children?

Most symptoms of Lyme disease occur in three stages: early localized, early disseminated and late-stage disease.

In the early localized stage, usually within one to two weeks following the tick bite, a single EM rash may appear. Patients who are not diagnosed and treated with antibiotics in the early localized stage, they may go on to have symptoms of early disseminated disease. …Read More