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Lyme Disease

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Lyme disease is an illness caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in Maryland.

Lyme disease is spread by black-legged ticks, also called deer ticks. Deer ticks are very small. 

deer tick size much smaller than dime

Not all deer ticks spread Lyme disease, only those that carry the bacteria.

You can prevent Lyme disease by preventing tick bites. See our Ticks page for tips.

Early Lyme disease symptoms may include an expanding red rash around the tick bite. The rash may look like a bull’s eye with a clear center and a ring around it.

Other early symptoms may be like flu symptoms – fatigue, headache, fever, and achy muscles and joints. Early symptoms usually occur within the first month after a bite.

Later symptoms may include arthritis, nervous system problems, and heart problems. They can occur several weeks or months after the bite.

Lyme disease may be hard to diagnose because the symptoms are similar to many other disorders. Blood tests can be help diagnosis Lyme disease, but health care providers need to consider other factors, such as symptoms, history of tick bites, and possible contact with ticks. 

If there is a chance you have Lyme disease, you should see your health care provider as soon as possible. Early treatment of Lyme can help prevent later symptoms.

Lyme disease is easily treated with antibiotics when it is caught early. 

Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome

Some people have pain, fatigue, and achy muscles and joints even after treatment for Lyme Disease. A small number of people have these symptoms for over 6 months. This is called Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS), though it is sometimes called chronic Lyme disease.

The cause of PTLDS is not yet known. It may be due to damage to tissues and the immune system from the Lyme Disease infection. Studies have not shown that people with PTLDS benefit from long-term antibiotics.

If you think you have PTLDS, work with your health care provider. Make sure you do not have another health issue that is causing your symptoms. Track your symptoms and ask about ways to treat them. Take care of yourself with a healthy diet and enough rest. Remember that people with PTLDS almost always get better, but it can take months.

Learn more from reliable websites, like the CDC and other government health agencies (.gov websites); information on the internet can be inaccurate.

Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (CDC)


For more information about Lyme disease, visit the following links:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Lyme pages:

CDC Lyme Disease Site

Lyme Disease: What You Need to Know

Lyme Disease Frequently Asked Questions 

Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome


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