Lyme disease, also known as borreliosis, is the most common tick-borne illness. Typical symptoms include headache, fatigue, fever, and skin rash.
Not all ticks can transmit Lyme disease. Only black-legged, castor bean, and taiga ticks are known to transmit the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. They spread the disease by biting humans and other animals.
Bacteria that can cause Lyme disease include Borrelia burgdorferi, B. mayonii, B. afzelii, and B. garinii.
This article includes information on the progression of the tick-borne disease and guidance on when to see a doctor.
Risk factors for Lyme disease include:
- work environment
- participation in outdoor activities
- geographical area
- time of year
People who work outside are
In the United States, most cases of Lyme disease
Ticks that carry the bacteria that cause Lyme disease can be active year-round, but they are typically most active during spring and summer.
Not all ticks transmit Lyme disease, and a tick will usually need to remain attached to its host for at least
A tick bite is the
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated
When heading outdoors, people can take simple precautions to avoid tick bites, including using bug spray, checking the body regularly for ticks, and wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts.
Most symptoms that appear within a few days after a Lyme-infected tick bite
- joint and muscle aches
- swollen lymph nodes
The rash sometimes takes on a “bull’s-eye” appearance. While it is an apparent sign of Lyme disease, it does not show up on everyone. It can also sometimes be difficult to detect in people with darker skin tones.
- neck stiffness and bad headaches
- new body rashes
- generalized body aches and pains
- facial muscle weakness or palsy (drooping on one or both sides of the face)
- irregular heart rhythm with palpitations
- shortness of breath
- nerve pain and other types of shooting pain or tingling in the hands and feet
- brain and spinal cord inflammation
People with Lyme disease may experience one or several of these later stage symptoms.
Possible complications of Lyme disease include:
- heart problems, such as myocarditis or pericarditis
- joint inflammation with large amounts of fluid, for example, Baker’s cyst in the knee
- neurological problems, such as meningitis, cognitive difficulties, or encephalitis
In addition to complications, coinfection is a possibility. According to the CDC, coinfection — when a tick passes another disease over along with Lyme — occurs in up to
People with Lyme disease usually recover quickly with early intervention. A short course of
A person should see a doctor if they have a tick bite or have been in a tick-prone area and experience any of the above symptoms.
Some symptoms may take time to develop, or a person may not have noticed the tick, and it may have fallen off their body before they have any symptoms.
Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease. The number of cases of Lyme in the U.S. seems to be steadily increasing.
Lyme disease can cause a range of early symptoms, such as headache, fatigue, fever, and skin rash, while other symptoms may take longer to manifest.