Conditions InDepth: Lyme Disease
by Amy Scholten, MPH
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection. It is passed from the bite of an infected tick. The infection is spread by deer ticks (blacklegged ticks) and western blacklegged ticks. These ticks are tiny—about the size of a poppy seed.
Lyme disease bacteria are called Borrelia burgdorferi (B. burgdorferi). A deer tick picks up the bacteria when it bites an animal that is infected with it.
The infected tick can then bite a person. From the tick bite, the bacteria can travel to the person's bloodstream. From the bloodstream, bacteria can move to different parts of the body. It may affect the skin, joints, muscles, and nerve tissue. Ticks must be attached to a person for 2 or more days to pass the infection. If the infection is passed, symptoms usually start in 1 week.
Lyme disease is most common in the northeast United States. However, it has been reported in nearly all states.
About Lyme disease. Lyme Disease website. Available at: https://www.lymedisease.org/lyme-basics/lyme-disease/about-lyme. Accessed Novmerb 12, 2021.
Lyme disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/index.html. Accessed November 12, 2021.
Lyme disease charts and figures: historical data. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/stats/graphs.html. Accessed November 12, 2021.
Lyme disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/lyme-disease. Accessed November 11, 2021.
Last reviewed November 2021 by Medical Review Board David L. Horn, MD
Last Updated: 11/12/2021
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.