Causes of Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through tick bites. Not all tick bites lead to Lyme, and often the tick needs to remain in the skin for 36 to 48 hours for the infection to be transmitted. If you have been bit by a tick and begin to experience symptoms, visit AFC Urgent Care Danbury to speak with a doctor. Our physicians can diagnose and treat many different illnesses to help all patients feel their best.

Are ticks the only cause of Lyme disease?

There are two forms of bacteria that can cause Lyme disease in humans that are found in the United States, Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii. Deer ticks or black-legged ticks are known to carry the virus, and young ticks can be as small as a poppyseed. This makes them hard to find on the body, and it is easier for them to transmit the virus.

Insects such as mosquitos, fleas, or flies can carry borrelia, but there is not enough evidence to prove they can transmit it to humans. It can also not be transmitted through close contact or infected food or water.

How long do Lyme disease symptoms last?

Early symptoms of Lyme can begin within a few days to one month after a patient is bit. This can include a red, bullseye rash, fever, fatigue, headache, neck stiffness, and swollen lymph nodes. If a patient does not receive medical treatment, they may develop additional symptoms within a few months of getting bit. Symptoms can include an additional rash, joint pain in elbows, knees, or shoulders, and neurological issues. These can occur even years after getting bit, but neurological problems can include temporary paralysis on one or both sides of the face, numbness in limbs, meningitis, or impaired muscle movement. 

How is Lyme disease treated?

For early symptoms of Lyme, the only effective method to help treat it is with antibiotics. The antibiotics prescribed by your doctor can range anywhere from 10 to 21 days – 14 to 21 days is typically recommended. If a patient begins to develop later symptoms, they may be prescribed another round of antibiotics for up to 28 days. They will help to eliminate the infection, but some symptoms, such as fatigue, can continue after. This is referred to as post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. Experts believe that Lyme can cause an autoimmune response in some patients, and that is why they will continue to experience symptoms. There is no known treatment for post-treatment Lyme.