Lyme Disease

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Lyme disease symptoms and signs include fever, headache, chills, bull's-eye rash, muscle and joint pain, and swollen glands.

Lyme Disease Signs & Symptoms

Lyme disease is medically described as occurring in three phases, each with distinctive symptoms. The first phase is early localized disease, which occurs three to 30 days after the tick bite that transmitted the infection. This stage is characterized by skin inflammation. The rash that occurs is referred to as erythema migrans. It develops in about 70% of people who get Lyme disease. It starts at the site of the tick bite and expands over the next several days. It can eventually cover an area up to about 12 inches across. Some of the area may clear, giving the rash at times a bull's-eye appearance.

Quick GuideLyme Disease Symptoms, Rash, Treatments

Lyme Disease Symptoms, Rash, Treatments

Lyme disease (Lyme borreliosis) facts

  • Lyme disease is an illness that is spread by bites from ticks infected by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia afzelii, or Borrelia garinii.
  • Lyme disease can affect the skin, joints, heart, and the nervous system.
  • Lyme disease occurs in phases, with the early phase beginning at the site of the tick bite with an expanding ring of redness.
  • Lyme disease is diagnosed based on the patient's clinical signs of illness and the detection of antibodies to the causative bacteria in the blood.
  • Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics.
Reviewed on 7/13/2017
References
REFERENCES:

Berende, Anneleen, et al. "Randomized Trial of Longer-Term Therapy for Symptoms Attributed to Lyme Disease." N Engl J Med 374 (2016): 1209-20.

International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS).

Klippel, John H., et al., eds. Primer on the Rheumatic Diseases. 13th ed. New York: Springer and Arthritis Foundation, 2008.

"Lyme Disease." Infectious Diseases Society of America. <http://www.idsociety.org/Lyme/>.

Shapiro, E.D. "Lyme Disease." N Engl J Med 370.18 (2014): 1724-1731.

United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Lyme Disease." May 27, 2017. <https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/index.html>.

Wright, William F., et al. "Diagnosis and Management of Lyme Disease." American Academy of Family Physicians 85.11 June 1, 2012: 1086-1093. <http://www.aafp.org/afp/2012/0601/p1086.html>.

IMAGES:

1.CDC - James Gathany

2.iStock

3.iStock

4.CDC

5.Interactive Medical Media LLC. All rights reserved./"Bullseye Lyme Disease Rash" by Hannah Garrison

6.iStock

7.Comstock Images/Getty Images

8.Getty Images/MedicineNet/iStock

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Arthritis Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors