Severity of Lyme Disease

Severity of Lyme Disease
Q:
Severity of Lyme Disease

How serious is Lyme disease? Is it curable?

A:

Dr. Greene’s Answer:

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by a bite from an infected tick. The symptoms in Lyme Disease can be divided into three stages. In the first stage a characteristic skin rash is the most prominent feature; in the second cardiac and neurologic findings predominate; and in the third stage arthritis is the classic symptom.

There is a widespread misconception that Lyme disease is difficult to eradicate completely, once the chronic symptoms have appeared. This is not the case. Most cases of treatment failure have later turned out to be patients who did not actually have Lyme disease. The prognosis for children treated for Lyme disease is excellent no matter what stage treatment is begun. Still, if caught in the first stage, symptoms usually resolve within days, and if caught in later stages the symptoms themselves may not resolve for 12 to 16 months after treatment is begun.

In December 1998, a Lyme disease vaccine was approved by the FDA for persons 15-70 years of age. Those who visit or live in areas of high or moderate risk and whose activities result in exposure to vector ticks should discuss the possibility of vaccination with their physicians.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by a bite from an infected tick. The symptoms in Lyme Disease can be divided into three stages. In the first stage a characteristic skin rash is the most prominent feature; in the second cardiac and neurologic findings predominate; and in the third stage arthritis is the classic symptom.

There is a widespread misconception that Lyme disease is difficult to eradicate completely, once the chronic symptoms have appeared. This is not the case. Most cases of treatment failure have later turned out to be patients who did not actually have Lyme disease. The prognosis for children treated for Lyme disease is excellent no matter what stage treatment is begun. Still, if caught in the first stage, symptoms usually resolve within days, and if caught in later stages the symptoms themselves may not resolve for 12 to 16 months after treatment is begun.

In December 1998, a Lyme disease vaccine was approved by the FDA for persons 15-70 years of age. Those who visit or live in areas of high or moderate risk and whose activities result in exposure to vector ticks should discuss the possibility of vaccination with their physicians.

Reviewed by: Khanh-Van Le-Bucklin
Last reviewed: June 01, 2001
Dr. Alan Greene

Article written by

Dr. Greene is the founder of DrGreene.com (cited by the AMA as “the pioneer physician Web site”), a practicing pediatrician, father of four, & author of Raising Baby Green & Feeding Baby Green. He appears frequently in the media including such venues as the The New York Times, the TODAY Show, Good Morning America, & the Dr. Oz Show.

 

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