The bite of an infected tick spreads this bacterial infection.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection you get from the bite of an infected tick. The first symptom is usually a rash, which may look like a bull’s-eye. As the infection spreads, you may experience:
- Muscle and joint aches
- Stiff neck
Lyme disease can be hard to diagnose because you may not have noticed the tick bite. Also, many of its symptoms are like those of the flu and other diseases. In the early stages, your healthcare provider will look at your symptoms and medical history to find out whether you have Lyme disease. Lab tests may help at this stage, but may not always give a clear answer. In the later stages of the disease, a different lab test can confirm whether you have the infection.
Antibiotics can cure most cases of Lyme disease. The sooner treatment begins, the quicker and more complete the recovery.
After treatment, some patients may still have muscle or joint aches and nervous system symptoms. This is called post-Lyme disease syndrome (PLDS). Long-term antibiotics have not been shown to help with PLDS. However, there are ways to help with the symptoms of PLDS, and most patients do get better with time.
Source: National Institutes of Health (NIH): National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases