Burgdorfer, Willy Rocky Mountain Laboratories, Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, Hamilton, Montana.
Kazmierczak, James J. Bureau of Public Health, Madison, Wisconsin.
Last reviewed:May 2021
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- Lyme disease in humans
- Causative agent
- Diagnosis and treatment
- Prevention and control
- Lyme disease in animals
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A complex multisystem illness caused by the tick-borne spirochetal bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, is an infectious disease of growing concern. Without early and proper treatment, individuals who have been infected with Borrelia burgdorferi can develop a number of debilitating symptoms, including severe joint pain, fatigue, headaches, and problems involving the central nervous system. It generally begins with a unique expanding skin lesion at the site of a tick bite (Fig. 1). This skin lesion, referred to as erythema migrans, is often accompanied by symptoms resembling those of influenza or meningitis. During the weeks or months following the tick bite, some individuals may develop cardiac and neurological abnormalities, particularly meningitis or inflammation of the cranial or peripheral nerves. If the disease is untreated, intermittent or chronic arthritis and progressive encephalomyelitis may develop months or years after the primary infection. See also: Bacteria; Borrelia; Central nervous system; Infectious disease; Medical bacteriology; Nervous system disorders; Skin; Zoonoses
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