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Lyme Disease
Student Health Information Page compiled by: Elizabeth Copeland

Facts About Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a chronic infectious disease. It
is caused by an infection of the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, most commonly passed to humans from the bite of a tick. The CDC estimates there are 300,000 new infections annually in the US, with the majority occurring in the Midwest and Northeastern states. Known as the “Great Imitator,” Lyme disease can affect all organs of the body and can be easily misdiagnosed as many of its symptoms are common to other diseases. The delay of the correct diagnosis and treatment can negatively affect the progression of the disease.

Distribution in the United States (CDC 2013)2

Lyme Disease Distribution in the United States

What are the symptoms of Lyme disease infection?

Signs & Symptoms Early Lyme Late Lyme
Fatigue denotes an early stage symptom denotes a late stage symptom
Headache denotes an early stage symptom denotes a late stage symptom
Rash denotes an early stage symptom  
Fever denotes an early stage symptom  
Chills denotes an early stage symptom  
Muscle Pains denotes an early stage symptom denotes a late stage symptom
Joint Pain denotes an early stage symptom denotes a late stage symptom
Neck Pain denotes an early stage symptom denotes a late stage symptom
Sleep Issues denotes an early stage symptom denotes a late stage symptom
Cognitive   denotes a late stage symptom
Neuropathy   denotes a late stage symptom
Heart related Issues   denotes a late stage symptom

Mode of Transmission

  • Lyme disease is transmitted to humans when bitten by an infected tick.
  • Most commonly found in hard to see areas such as the groin, armpits, and scalp.
  • Ticks typically need to be attached for 36 to 48 hours or longer before the disease
  • Diagnosis is confirmed by blood test ELISA

Treatment Options

    Early Lyme
  • Antibiotics at the first sign of disease can potentially eliminate future issues
    Late or Chronic Lyme
  • Ongoing research is conflicting in regards to proper treatment for chronic symptoms
  • No set standards for combination, dose, or duration have been established
  • Combinations of antibiotics to treat active infection, over longer periods of time
  • Managing additional symptoms as they occur

Are you at Risk? Prevention is Key!

    During the warmer summer months, more people are exposed to risk. Before enjoying the outdoors, remember to:
  • Protect yourself from bites
  • Wear clothing that covers both arms and legs
  • Use a DEET insect repellent on clothing and skin
  • Perform frequent “tick checks” on yourself and others
  • Remember to check hard to see areas for ticks
    If ticks are found remember to:
  • Use fine tipped tweezers
  • Remove ticks quickly and correctly
  • Remove tick directly with firm and even pressure
  • Clean the area after removal with rubbing alcohol or water
  • Be alert for fever or rashes
    Prevent ticks near your home
  • Prevent ticks on your pets by limiting their time in tick infested areas, such as leaf litter, tall grasses, and leaves
  • Discourage deer near your home