Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. Lyme disease is currently affects more Montgomery residents than any other disease or illness per year. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks.
Laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. Steps to prevent Lyme disease: use insect repellent, wear long pants with the bottom tucked into socks, check frequently for ticks, remove ticks promptly and disinfect site, apply pesticides, and reduce tick habitat. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tickborne diseases as well.