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"While a lot of people kept saying Justin Bieber looks like sh**, on meth etc. they failed to realize I've been recently diagnosed with Lyme disease," Bieber tweeted in response to fan concerns about his appearance. "Not only that but had a serious case of chronic mono which affected my, skin, brain function, energy, and overall health."
Soon afterwards, his wife, Hailey Bieber, defended her husband against the mockery of critics on the social media platform, whom she accused of "trying to downplay the severity of Lyme disease."
Symptoms of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by black legged ticks, according to MedicineNet author Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD. He says it typically causes fever, headache, and fatigue. He notes that most patients with Lyme disease show a characteristic bulls-eye skin rash.
This tick can be found in the Eastern United States, and high-risk U. S. counties for Lyme disease are all clustered in New England and near the border between Wisconsin and Minnesota, according to the CDC.
If Lyme goes untreated for several days or months, Dr. Davis said other symptoms may develop, including:
- Bell's palsy (facial paralysis on one side of the face)
- Additional rash formation
- Pain and swelling of the joints
- Shooting pains that may interfere with sleep
- Severe headaches and/or neck stiffness
- Heart palpitations
- Episodes of dizziness and/or shortness of breath
- Short-term memory problems
- Inflammation of the brain and/or spinal cord
How Is Lyme Disease Cured?
As a bacterial infection, Lyme disease responds to antibiotics. If a person with Lyme is treated within about a month of infection, they "usually recover fairly quickly," Dr. Davis said, and without any neurological problems.
Some patient groups have advocated for the recognition of "chronic Lyme," often recommending a long-term course of antibiotics. But Dr. Davis said "chronic Lyme disease" is an incorrect term, and instead describes post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome.
Post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome may develop in a few people following antibiotics treatment. It is characterized by lingering symptoms of fatigue, pain, joint and muscle aches for up to about six months after antibiotics have been administered. He adds that "this syndrome does not need to be treated with additional antibiotics."
What Is Chronic Mononucleosis?
Mono antibodies can be detected in most adults through a blood test, Dr. Stöppler said. When laboratory results confirm a person has mono antibodies, that person cannot be infected again.
Mono causes fever, fatigue, sore throat, and swollen lymph nodes, Dr. Stöppler said. She said EBV particles can be detected in patients for up to 18 months after infection, and symptoms sometimes last longer than six months. These cases are sometimes called "chronic mononucleosis."
"However, laboratory tests generally cannot confirm continued active EBV infection in people with chronic EBV symptoms," Dr. Stöppler said.