Neurological Symptoms Of Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by the bite of an infected tick. It may cause a number of medical conditions. The disorder is often hard to diagnose because its symptoms and signs mimic those of many other diseases. In its early stage, Lyme disease may be a mild illness with flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, headaches, fatigue, muscle aches, and joint pain. Symptoms appear within 7 to 10 days following the infected tick's bite. Many people bitten by an infected tick develop a large, expanding skin rash around the area of the bite. The rash may feel hot to the touch, but is usually not painful. Rashes vary in size, shape, and color, but often have a "bull's eye" appearance (a red ring with a clear center). Nervous system abnormalities may include numbness, pain, Bell's palsy (paralysis of the facial muscles), and meningitis symptoms such as fever, stiff neck, and severe headache. Other problems, which may not appear until weeks, months, or years after a tick bite, include arthritis (especially in the knees) and heart problems.

Is there any treatment?

Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics under the supervision of a physician.

What is the prognosis?

Most individuals with Lyme disease respond well to antibiotics and have full recovery. In a few patients symptoms of persisting infection may continue or recur, requiring additional antibiotic treatment. Varying degrees of permanent joint or nervous system damage may develop in patients with late chronic Lyme disease. In rare cases, death may occur.

What research is being done?

The NINDS supports research on Lyme disease. Current areas of interest in research on the disorder include improving diagnostic tests and treatments, and finding an effective vaccine. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases also support research on Lyme disease.

Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health