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Lyme Disease
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CDC.gov provides users with credible, reliable health information.
The Lyme and Tick-borne Diseases Research Center was established as the first academic research center in the country to focus multidisciplinary research on chronic Lyme disease
This award-winning consumer Web site offers health information, self-improvement and disease management tools to empower people to manage their health.
Episode number: 
907

(Source: NIH / Medline Plus) Lyme disease is a bacterial infection you get from the bite of an infected tick. The first symptom is usually a rash, which may look like a bull's eye (although some people never get the tell-tale bullseye rash).

Symptoms of lyme disease

As the infection spreads, you may have

  • A fever
  • A headache
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • A stiff neck
  • Fatigue

Diagnosing lyme disease

Lyme disease can be hard to diagnose because you may not have noticed a tick bite. Also, many of its symptoms are like those of the flu and other diseases. In the early stages, your health care provider will look at your symptoms and medical history, to figure out whether you have Lyme disease. Lab tests may help at this stage, but may not always give a clear answer. In the later stages of the disease, a different lab test can confirm whether you have it.

Treating lyme disease

Antibiotics can cure most cases of Lyme disease. The sooner treatment begins, the quicker and more complete the recovery.

After treatment, some patients may still have muscle or joint aches and nervous system symptoms. This is called post-Lyme disease syndrome (PLDS). Long-term antibiotics have not been shown to help with PLDS. However, there are ways to help with the symptoms of PLDS, and most patients do get better with time.

NIH: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

Key Point 1

Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by microscopic bacteria carried by ticks.  Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and a characteristic bullseye skin rash but these symptoms are not always evident or can be overlooked.  Labaratory testing can be an important tool in the diagnosis of Lyme disease but not the only method.

Key Point 2

Most cases of Lyme disease can be effectively treated with antibiotics.  Late diagnosis can lead to other more serious complications such as arthritis and autoimmune responses.  While there are effective treatments, it is important to take precautions to prevent Lyme disease such as using insect repellent, examining yourself, remvoving ticks promptly and reducing tick habitat.

Medline Plus

Medline Description: 

Interactive Medical Search logoConduct an off-site search for Lyme Disease from MedlinePlus.  These up-to-date search results are based on search terms specific to Second Opinion Key Points.

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