Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migraines. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks; laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tick-borne diseases as well.
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.
Conduct 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.
There are a very large number of organizations and websites dedicated to Lyme Disease. This is only a partial list.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: CDC.gov provides users with credible, reliable health information.
Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Research Center: 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.
Mayo Clinic: This award-winning consumer Web site offers health information, self-improvement and disease management tools to empower people to manage their health.