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Lyme Disease is a Growing Threat

Lyme disease is the most common vectorborne illness in the United States, with about 30,000 confirmed and probable cases diagnosed in 2010. Lyme disease also occurs worldwide. In Europe, the tick that causes Lyme disease lives on sheep, not on deer.

An estimated 70 to 80 percent of people with Lyme disease develop a characteristic solid or "bullseye" red rash, called erythema migrans (EM). But Lyme disease should be suspected in anyone who has visited an area where Lyme disease is common, may have had a tick bite, and has other symptoms of early Lyme disease such as:

  • generalized achiness,
  • headache,
  • swelling of lymph nodes near the tick bit.

Early Lyme disease should be diagnosed based on symptoms and the possibility of a tick bit, not blood tests. Blood tests performed during the first month after exposure are not reliable.

Untreated, Lyme disease can lead to severe arthritis, heart and blood vessel problems, nerve problems such as numbness in hands and feet, and thinking problems. Symptoms of late-stage Lyme disease may include confusion, dizziness, disorienation, short-term memory loss, difficulty focusing or participating in conversations, and general mental "fogginess."

Learn more about Lyme disease prevention, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment: http://ehealthmd.com/content/what-lyme-disease