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Lyme disease

Lyme disease: Introduction

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the bite of a tick that carries the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium. If not recognized and treated promptly, Lyme disease progresses and results in other serious, even-life threatening infections.

The tick that can transmit Lyme disease is a small parasite that lives on animals, such as deer, rabbits, racoons, and mice. People at risk for getting bitten by a tick infected with Borrelia burgdorferi, include those who spend time in areas where ticks are likely to live, such as thickly wooded areas or places with high brush and grass. Ticks that can transmit Lyme disease are particularly active during May, June and July.

Lyme disease results in symptoms that include a characteristic "bull's eye" lesion. Symptoms may vary between individuals but are generally similar to symptoms of other bacterial infections. Complications of untreated Lyme disease can be critical and include meningitis. For more information about symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of Lyme disease.

Making a diagnosis of Lyme disease begins with taking a thorough medical history, including symptoms and history of a tick bite or of being in places, such as wooded areas, where high concentrations of ticks live. Diagnosis also includes completing a physical examination, and assessing for the classic "bull's eye" lesion develops at the site of the infected tick bite. This lesion, called erythema migrans, begins as a round, red spot that grows larger and develops a normal skin-colored center. There may also be multiple lesions, which can also be solid red in color.

Testing includes performing two blood tests that can help to diagnose Lyme disease. The ELISA and Western blot test measure antibodies that the body's immune system makes in response to the infection. Tests may also be done to diagnose or rule-out other disease caused by tick bites, such as babesiosis and ehrlichiosis.

A diagnosis of Lyme disease may be missed or delayed because not all people with the disease develop the classic "bull's eye" lesion. In addition, other symptoms of Lyme disease can vary. For more information on misdiagnosis, refer to misdiagnosis of Lyme disease.

Lyme disease can be effectively prevented with certain precautions. It can also be treated with antibiotics. The earlier the disease is diagnosed and treated, the more effective treatment is and that less likely it is that someone with the disease will develop serious complications, such as meningitis and arthritis. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of Lyme disease. ...more »

Lyme disease: Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by tick bites. There are a variety of symptoms of Lyme disease including a skin rash around the tick bite and various later general symptoms such as fever, fatigue and many other possible symptoms. Lyme disease can also affect the joints, central nervous system, and the heart. Method of treatment for Lyme disease is usually by various antibiotics.

Lyme disease is difficult to diagnose, especially if the characteristic skin rash around the tick bite is absent. Lyme disease is one of a group of conditions with vague symptoms such as fatigue, aches, or malaise. In mild cases, people may not even seek medical advice unless symptoms become more severe. Lyme disease it may need to be distinguished from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, Type 2 diabetes, depression, Lyme disease, multiple sclerosis, or various other conditions. If the main symptoms are joint symptoms, then various other causes of arthritis need to be considered. ...more »

Lyme disease: Symptoms

The symptoms of Lyme disease result from the reproduction and growth of the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted by the bite of a tick that carries the bacteria. Symptoms vary between individuals and often, but not always, include the classic "bull's eye" lesion at the site of the infected tick bite. This lesion, called erythema migrans, begins as a round, red ...more symptoms »

Lyme disease: Treatments

The first step in treating Lyme disease is prevention. Prevention measures include staying out of thick brush, high grass and thickly wooded areas unless properly protected. Protection includes the use of an insect repellent that contains the chemical DEET when in these areas. It is also important to cover all exposed parts of the skin with light-colored ...more treatments »

Lyme disease: Misdiagnosis

A diagnosis of Lyme disease may be overlooked because a person may be unaware that he or she has been bitten by an infected tick. In addition, not all people develop the classic "bull's eye" lesion of Lyme disease. Other symptoms, such as fever, headache, swollen lymph glands (lymphedema), and malaise, are vague and can be attributed to other diseases, such as ...more misdiagnosis »

Symptoms of Lyme disease

Treatments for Lyme disease

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical testing related to Lyme disease:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Lyme disease?

Lyme disease: Related Patient Stories

Lyme disease: Deaths

Read more about Deaths and Lyme disease.

Alternative Treatments for Lyme disease

Alternative treatments or home remedies that have been listed in various sources as possibly beneficial for Lyme disease may include:

Types of Lyme disease

  • Lyme-like diseases - conditions similar to Lyme disease in Australia or other non-USA areas
  • more types...»

Diagnostic Tests for Lyme disease

Test for Lyme disease in your own home

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Lyme disease: Complications

Review possible medical complications related to Lyme disease:

Causes of Lyme disease

  • Lyme disease is caused by bacteria. Infected ticks spread the bacteria by biting people or animals
  • Deer ticks
  • Western black-legged ticks
  • more causes...»

More information about causes of Lyme disease:

Disease Topics Related To Lyme disease

Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Lyme disease:

Lyme disease: Undiagnosed Conditions

Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:

Misdiagnosis and Lyme disease

Cluster of diseases with difficult diagnosis issues: There is a well-known list of medical conditions that are all somewhat difficult to diagnose, and all can present in a variety of...read more »

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Sinusitis is overdiagnosed: There is a tendency to give a diagnosis of sinusitis, when the condition is really a harmless complication of another infection...read more »

Whooping cough often undiagnosed: Although most children in the Western world have been immunized against whooping cough (also called "pertussis"), this...read more »

Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (see symptoms of multiple sclerosis). See symptoms of...read more »

Lyme disease: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research related physicians and medical specialists:

Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:

Latest Treatments for Lyme disease

Evidence Based Medicine Research for Lyme disease

Medical research articles related to Lyme disease include:

Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database

Lyme disease: Animations

Prognosis for Lyme disease

Prognosis for Lyme disease: For early cases, prompt treatment is usually curative. However, the severity and treatment of Lyme disease may be complicated due to late diagnosis, failure of antibiotic treatment, and simultaneous infection with other tick-borne diseases (co-infections) including ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, and bartonella, and immune suppression in the patient.

Research about Lyme disease

Visit our research pages for current research about Lyme disease treatments.

Clinical Trials for Lyme disease

The US based website ClinicalTrials.gov lists information on both federally and privately supported clinical trials using human volunteers.

Some of the clinical trials listed on ClinicalTrials.gov for Lyme disease include:

Prevention of Lyme disease

Prevention information for Lyme disease has been compiled from various data sources and may be inaccurate or incomplete. None of these methods guarantee prevention of Lyme disease.

Statistics for Lyme disease

Lyme disease: Broader Related Topics

Lyme disease Message Boards

Related forums and medical stories:

User Interactive Forums

Read about other experiences, ask a question about Lyme disease, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:

Article Excerpts about Lyme disease

NINDS Neurological Sequelae Of Lyme Disease Information Page: NINDS (Excerpt)

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by the bite of an infected tick. It may cause a number of medical conditions. The disorder is often hard to diagnose because its symptoms and signs mimic those of many other diseases. (Source: excerpt from NINDS Neurological Sequelae Of Lyme Disease Information Page: NINDS)

Lyme Disease -- The Facts, The Challenge: NIAID (Excerpt)

Lyme disease is still mistaken for other ailments, and it continues to pose many other challenges: it can be difficult to diagnose because of the inadequacies of today's laboratory tests, and it can be troublesome to treat in its later phases. Development of a vaccine to prevent Lyme disease is underway. (Source: excerpt from Lyme Disease -- The Facts, The Challenge: NIAID)

Definitions of Lyme disease:

A specific species of bacteria, part of the BORRELIA BURGDORFERI GROUP, whose common name is Lyme disease spirochete. - (Source - Diseases Database)

An acute inflammatory disease characterized by a rash with joint swelling and fever; caused by bacteria carried by the bite of a deer tick - (Source - WordNet 2.1)

Lyme disease is listed as a "rare disease" by the Office of Rare Diseases (ORD) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This means that Lyme disease, or a subtype of Lyme disease, affects less than 200,000 people in the US population.
Source - National Institutes of Health (NIH)

 

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