Lyme Disease Basics Answers to the most commonly-asked questions

By Doug Fearn
  • QWhat is Lyme disease?
  • ALyme disease is a bacterial infection, most commonly contracted from a tick bite, that may initially cause a flu-like sickness. Untreated, or inadequately treated, it may cause long-term, persistent illness that can affect many systems of the body. Other tick-borne diseases are often contracted at the same time.
  • QHow do you get it?
  • A

    Lyme Disease (LD) is spread primarily through the bite of the deer tick in the eastern U.S., and the black-legged tick in the western U.S. The Lone Star tick, prevalent in the South and Midwest and spreading elsewhere, has also been associated with Lyme disease.

    Some researchers believe that other ticks and some biting insects such as mosquitoes, fleas, biting flies, and lice may also transmit LD. Babies may be born infected if the mother is infected, or possibly acquire it through breast milk. A blood transfusion with Lyme- infected blood may transmit the disease to the recipient. Some specialist medical researchers believe that Lyme, or other tick-borne diseases, can be sexually transmitted, although there has never been any research to confirm or deny it. Lyme spirochetes have been found in many bodily fluids.

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