Lyme disease is acquired through the bite of a deer tick that is infected with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Either an adult or a nymphal stage tick (a young tick about the seize of a poppy seed) can spread Lyme disease. A tick must be attached for at least 24 hours to spread the disease to a person.
Signs and Symptoms
Early symptoms can show up to three to 30 days after being bitten by an infected tick. If not treated, later symptoms can show up weeks to months later.
- circular reddish rash (appears in 70-80% of cases)
- stiff neck
- muscle/joint pain
- meningitis (brain swelling)
- facial muscle weakness
- heart abnormalities
- join pain/swelling
Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics. It is important to get treatment as soon as possible after signs and symptoms are noted.
Lyme disease can be prevented through personal behaviors such as using insect repellent, wearing permethrin-treated clothing and long-sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into socks or boots, avoiding tick-heavy areas such as tall grass or brush, checking for ticks after being in wooded, grassy or bushy areas and promptly showering to wash off any crawling ticks.