Lyme Disease (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
If Lyme disease is left untreated, it may progress in stages from mild symptoms to serious, long-term disabilities. There are three stages of Lyme disease: early localized, early disseminated, and late persistent.
Stage 1: Early localized infection (1 to 4 weeks)
Some people with Lyme disease have a rash (called erythema migrans) at the site of the tick bite. The rash is usually circular and it gets larger over time. Other people don't have any symptoms in the early stages of Lyme disease and do not remember having had a tick bite. About half the people infected with Lyme disease develop a rash within 1 to 4 weeks.1 See a picture of a Lyme disease rash.
For people who live in areas where Lyme disease most often occurs—in the United States along the Atlantic coast, the Midwest, and parts of Oregon and California—the circular rash can be a sign of Lyme disease, especially when it appears during the summer months.
Some people with Lyme disease will have flu-like symptoms with or without a rash. These symptoms may include:
In some cases of Lyme disease, the person does not notice any symptoms during this stage.
Stage 2: Early disseminated infection (1 to 4 months)
If Lyme disease is not detected and treated while early symptoms are present, or if you do not have early symptoms that trigger the need for treatment, the infection may affect the skin, joints, nervous system, and heart within weeks to months after the initial infection.
Symptoms at this stage may include:
Stage 3: Late persistent infections
If Lyme disease is not promptly or effectively treated, damage to the joints, nerves, and brain may develop months or years after you become infected (late Lyme disease). Symptoms at this stage may include:
Heart, nervous system, and joint symptoms may be the first signs of Lyme disease in people who did not have a rash or other symptoms of early infection.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
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