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What is Lyme disease? What causes Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is a bacterial illness caused by a bacterium called a "spirochete." In the United States, the actual name of the bacterium is
Borrelia burgdorferi. In Europe, the bacteria Borrelia afzelii and
Borrelia garinii also cause Lyme disease. Certain ticks frequently found on deer from various locations harbor the bacterium in their stomachs. Lyme disease is spread by these ticks when they bite the skin, which permits the bacterium to infect the body. So Lyme disease is a tick-borne disease. Lyme disease is not contagious from an affected person to someone else. Lyme disease can cause abnormalities in the skin, joints, heart, and nervous system.