Justin Bieber has revealed he has been diagnosed with lyme disease, a condition spread by ticks. The singer wrote on Instagram on Wednesday that he was “recently” diagnosed with the condition, as well as a “serious” case of chronic mono. The 25-year-old said he would provide further details in a documentary series he plans to release on Youtube.
“You can learn all that I’ve been battling and OVERCOMING!!” he wrote.
Avril Lavigne, who is among celebrities who have been open about their struggles with lyme disease, wrote in a comment beneath the post: “Sending you love and strength.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the country. A vector-borne disease is one spread by hosts like mosquito or lice. In the case of lyme disease, blacklegged ticks bite into the skin, passing on the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, and in rare cases Borrelia mayonii bacteria.
The arachnids are found in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, north-central U.S., and the Pacific Coast regions. While they can bite any part of the body, they often latch on to the armpits, groin and scalp.
In the first three to 30 days after a person is bitten, they may experience a fever, chills, a headache, feel fatigued, and suffer from aching muscles and joints, as well as swollen lymph nodes.
Around 70 to 80 percent of those with lyme disease will develop what is known as an erythema migrans rash, after about seven days. The warm-feeling, but rarely painful, rash will form where the tick bit into the skin, and can grow up to 12 inches in diameter. In some people, it will form into a bullseye shape.
The later signs and symptoms which take hold in the days and months following a bite can include a severe headache and stiff neck, a drooping of the face called facial palsy, and pain in the tendons, muscles, joints and bones which comes and goes. A sufferer might also encounter dizziness, nerve pain, shooting sensations in the body, and tingling or numbness in the hands and feet.
The erythema migrans may also appear in other parts of the body during this later stage of the disease. If left untreated, lyme disease can cause problems including facial paralysis and arthritis. Lyme disease can be diagnosed with a blood test, but this process can be complicated.
According to the CDC, people who take the correct antibiotics when they first catch lyme disease “usually recover rapidly and completely.”
The CDC stresses: “Seek medical attention if you observe any of these symptoms and have had a tick bite, live in an area known for Lyme disease, or have recently traveled to an area where Lyme disease occurs.”