Early Localized Lyme Disease

What is early localized Lyme disease?

Lyme disease, also known as Lyme borreliosis, is a condition caused by an infection with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacteria is spread through tick bites. People who work outside or spend time in woodland areas are most likely to be affected. Typical symptoms include a 'bull's eye' rash, fever, headache, fatigue, and joint pain. This condition can be treated with antibiotics, and most people recover well.

Risks

Lyme disease is caused by bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. These bacteria are spread through tick bites. This condition can not be passed from person to person. These ticks are found in wooded, rural areas throughout Europe and North America. People who work outside or who spend time in woodland or heaths are most commonly affected. Although anyone can have this condition, it tends to be slightly more common in children and older adults. It is more common in late spring, early summer and autumn. Lyme disease tends to first cause symptoms in one location, which is called early or localized Lyme disease, and then spreads slowly through the body, which is called disseminated Lyme disease.

Symptoms

The early symptoms of Lyme disease are flu-like, with fever, chills, tiredness, muscle aches, joint pain, and a 'bull's eye' rash. Later symptoms can be different from person to person, but include pain and swelling in the joints, numbness, weakness of the facial muscles, memory problems, shortness of breath and headaches.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis is usually based on two aspects: the appearance of the 'bull's eye' rash and a history of travel or activities in areas where ticks are present (eg. work or travel in wooded areas of North America). Further tests are usually not carried out, though a blood test may help to make the diagnosis in cases when the diagnosis is unclear.

Treatment

Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics. Simple pain-relief, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, might be helpful for sore muscles and joints.

Prevention

Avoiding tick bites with insect repellents and protective clothing is important to prevent this condition, especially in areas which are known to have Lyme disease. There is no vaccination available.

Other names for early localized Lyme disease

  • early localized Lyme borreliosis
  • stage 1 Lyme borreliosis