|Description:||This image depicts the medial aspect of the right calf of a patient who’d presented with what was diagnosed as Lyme disease. Note the characteristic red, expanding rash called erythema migrans (EM), that had been caused by the bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi. In the background, you can also see that the patient’s right leg also displayed an EM rash.|
B. burgdorferi bacteria are transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system.
Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings, e.g., rash, and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks; laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tickborne diseases as well.