What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. 

The disease is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks, also known as deer ticks. 

Lyme disease can affect various parts of the body, including the skin, joints, heart, & nervous system.

Symptoms of Lyme disease typically begin within 3 to 30 days of the tick bite. Early symptoms can include a rash, which often looks like a bull's eye, fever, chills, fatigue, headache, & muscle & joint pain. 

As the disease progresses, symptoms can include swollen lymph nodes, facial palsy, severe headaches, & shooting pains in the arms or legs.

If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause more serious symptoms, such as joint pain & swelling, irregular heartbeat, & inflammation of the brain & spinal cord. 

In rare cases, Lyme disease can lead to long-term complications, such as chronic joint pain & fatigue, cognitive impairment, & sleep disturbances. 

Diagnosing Lyme disease can be difficult, as symptoms can mimic other diseases. Blood tests can be used to detect the presence of antibodies to the bacterium, but these tests may not be accurate in the early stages of the disease. 

If a tick bite is known or suspected, a healthcare provider may diagnose Lyme disease based on symptoms alone. Treatment for Lyme disease typically involves a course of antibiotics.

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