Delays in Diagnosis and Treatment of Tick-Borne Diseases due to the COVID-19 Pandemic
The Parasites & Vectors Journal (Arahirwa V., et al.) 08.24.2023, published “Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on delays in diagnosis and treatment of tick-borne diseases endemic to southeastern USA.” This article discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic affected the diagnosis and treatment of diseases transmitted by ticks, e.g., Lyme disease.
The COVID-19 pandemic caused delays in diagnosing and treating various medical conditions. The impact on tick-borne diseases (TBD), which can have symptoms similar to COVID-19, is not well understood. This study looked at patients with suspected TBD before and after COVID-19 to see if there were delays in diagnosing and treating these diseases during the pandemic.
Results during the pandemic show significant delays in starting treatment for TBD compared to before the pandemic and relatively similar diagnostic delays. Reasons may include fear of going to the hospital or using telemedicine instead of in-person visits. Since COVID-19 symptoms are similar to tick-borne diseases, doctors might have focused too much on COVID-19, leading to delays in considering TBD. This is problematic, because the longer TBD patients go without treatment, the more serious symptoms can be and lead to persistent symptoms and conditions due to untreated tick-borne diseases.
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