Employee Assistance Program → Shady Grove Health Tips → Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is the leading cause of vector-borne infectious illness in the U.S. with about 23,000 cases reported in 2002. It is believed to be greatly under-reported, and 95 percent of cases are from northeastern, mid-Atlantic and upper north-central regions of the United States . It is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected deer ticks.
Lyme disease is a multi-system inflammatory disease. Eighty percent of patients will have a "bull's eye" rash within days or weeks following a bite. This is accompanied by fever, stiff neck, fatigue, headache, muscle aches and joint pain. The incubation period from infection to onset is typically 7-14 days but may be as short as three days or as long as 30 days.
Early treatment includes antibiotics. If left untreated for weeks or months, some patients may develop arthritis including intermittent episodes of swelling/pain in the large joints. Also, those infected will suffer from neurological abnormalities such as aseptic meningitis, facial palsy and inflammation of the brain. Rarely, cardiac problems will develop.
CDC: Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases, The American Lyme Disease Foundation and Washington and Shady Grove Adventist Hospitals . The Health Tip of the Week is for educational purposes only. For additional information, consult your physician. Please feel free to copy and distribute this health resource.