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.

Quick GuideLyme Disease Symptoms, Rash, Treatments

Lyme Disease Symptoms, Rash, Treatments

Is it possible to prevent Lyme disease? Is there a Lyme disease vaccine?

Avoiding known tick-infested areas obviously can prevent transmission of Lyme disease. Because Lyme disease is transmitted by ticks attaching to the body, it is important to use tick-bite avoidance techniques when visiting known tick-infested areas. Spraying insect repellant containing DEET onto exposed skin can help to keep ticks off of skin and clothes. Wearing long pants tucked into boots and long sleeves can protect the skin. Clothing, children, and pets should be examined for ticks. Ticks can be removed gently with tweezers and saved in a jar for later identification. Bathing the skin and scalp and washing clothing upon returning home might prevent the bite and transmission of the disease.

If a person is bitten by the classic deer tick (Ixodes) that has been attached for at least 36 hours, a single dose of doxycycline (200 mg) can be very helpful for prevention of Lyme disease. This therapy is not recommended if the tick is acquired in an area where these ticks are not commonly infested (infection rate less than 20%) with the bacterium (Borrelia) that causes Lyme disease. Also, doxycycline should not be used in pregnancy or in children under 8 years of age.

Vaccines for the prevention of Lyme disease were formerly on the market but have not been commercially available since 2002. Further studies of vaccines are needed. For now, ideal prevention focuses on the recommendations above.

What types of doctors treat Lyme disease?

Doctors who are involved in the treatment of Lyme disease include primary-care physicians (including pediatricians, family medicine doctors, and internists), as well as specialists in infectious disease, rheumatology, and neurology.

Where can people find more information about Lyme disease?

For more information about Lyme disease, please visit the following site:

American Lyme Disease Foundation (http://www.aldf.com)
American Lyme Disease Foundation, Inc.
Mill Pond Offices
293 Route 100, Suite 204
Somers, New York 10589
800-876-LYME

Alternatively, you may contact the CDC:

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
404-332-4555

Reviewed on 4/7/2016
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.

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

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

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

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