Justin Bieber stops the tour for Lyme disease (and not only): the expert explains what it is

The well-known singer also has chronic mononucleosis. We talk about it with Antonella Castagna, head of Infectious Diseases at the Irccs San Raffaele Hospital in Milan

Vera Martinella

It is the bite of a tick that is responsible for the pop star’s stop on the Justice World Tour Justin Bieber. The 28 year old made the announcement on the eve of the Toronto concert, canceling the date without giving information on subsequent appointments. The explanations to the fans come via the singer’s Instagram profile: “I have the Lyme diseaseas well as one severe chronic mononucleosiswhich affected my skin, my brain function, my energy and my health in general. ”Things, Bieber says, will be explained further in a documentary series that he will post on YouTube shortly.

For Justin Bieber Lyme disease and more: We talk to the expert

Lyme disease it is usually not serious, specific therapies exist and effective and you can definitely heal “he reassures Antonella Castagna, head of Infectious Diseases at the Irccs San Raffaele Hospital in Milan.

“The bite of a tick – replies the expert -, which during the bite transmits a bacterium to humans, the Borrelia burgdorferi. It is no coincidence that the disease (also known as borreliosis) is more widespread in green and wooded areas, especially for us in the North East of Italy and Europe. It is a rare disease, with about 500 new cases in Italy every year “.

And what are the symptoms?

You don’t always notice that you are bitten from a mint. It may also happen that the erythema typical of Lyme disease does not appear and this complicates things a bit. In most cases, however, a very characteristic erythema because it is ring-shaped, circular, at the puncture site (white in the center, red around), which can expand quite a lot or migrate to other parts of the body. As the days go by, they generally also appear fevera big tirednessarthro-myalgia (muscle and joint pain), headache. Typical manifestations of many infections “.

How is the diagnosis reached?

“Usually the patient when he sees the erythema growing goes to a doctor who recognizes Lyme disease quite simply. blood analysis which quickly verify the presence of the bacterium. And consequently we proceed with the therapies “.

So what are the treatments?

“For erythema migrans are used specific antibiotics, effective against the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Usually the treatment, well tolerated, is prescribed for 14-28 days, which are sufficient to clear the infection. Like this the patient recovered definitively“.

Is it possible that the therapies do not work and it is even necessary to stop the tour of a world pop star?

“More than anything else it is possible that the patient does not remember the tick bite or did not notice it and therefore does not report it to the doctor, so the diagnosis becomes complicated because the other symptoms are “vague”. Perhaps the erythema is not serious and therefore is neglected and resolves itself in a few days, but the person concerned suffers from great fatigue, fever, pain and does not understand the causes. When Lyme disease evolves it can present itself with arthritis (typically in one knee only) that persists for weeks or months. And then there can be complications, albeit quite rare, at the cardiac and neurological level. As for any pathology: if discovered and treated at the beginning (within the first weeks after the bite) the “standard” drug therapy is sufficient to heal in a short time; if, on the other hand, the disease has spread and the diagnosis is late, it can take many months (or years) and more intensive care“.

Is there anything that can be done for prevention?

“When you go to woods, pastures or uncultivated meadows, it is better to cover up with long sleeves and pants or use insect repellent products. And, in any case, pay attention to the skin in the following days: maybe the bite is not felt, but the tick usually remains attached for several hours or days and can be seen “.

Finally, mononucleosis: is it linked to Lyme disease?

“Borrelliosis is caused by a bacterium, while mononucleosis is caused by a virus, that of Epstein Barr). kissing disease (because the transmission occurs mostly through saliva), especially typical of teenagers. Like Lyme it can cause high fever (usually for a few days) and great exhaustion, which can persist for a long time. And then, a typical sign, a swelling of the laterocervical lymph nodes, those of the neck (usually for a week or so). In this case we don’t have specific antibiotics, but mononucleosis tends to have a benign course and disappear within a few weeks. If necessary, paracetamol, antibiotics, and in severe cases steroids are prescribed “.

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