Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks. The disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is most commonly found in North America and Europe.
Lyme disease can cause a variety of symptoms, which may appear in stages and can vary from person to person. Some common symptoms of Lyme disease include:
- Rash: A characteristic “bull’s-eye” rash called erythema migrans (EM) is often the first sign of Lyme disease. The rash usually appears within 3-30 days of the tick bite and can be accompanied by flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle and joint pain.
- Flu-like symptoms: In addition to the rash, people with Lyme disease may experience fatigue, chills, fever, headache, and muscle and joint pain.
- Neurological symptoms: In some cases, Lyme disease can cause neurological symptoms such as numbness, tingling, and weakness in the limbs. It can also cause facial paralysis (Bell’s palsy), severe headaches, and meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord).
- Joint pain and swelling: Lyme disease can cause severe joint pain and swelling, especially in the knees. The pain and swelling may come and go, and may be accompanied by stiffness and limited range of motion.
If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause more severe and long-lasting symptoms, including chronic joint pain, neurological problems, and heart problems. Therefore, it is important to seek medical attention if you suspect you have been bitten by a tick or are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above. Early diagnosis and treatment with antibiotics can help prevent long-term complications of Lyme disease.