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Back To Vidyya Neurological Sequelae Of Lyme Disease


Patient Information Page

Is there any treatment?
What is the prognosis?
What research is being done?

Selected references
Organizations


What is Neurological Sequelae 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.

Selected references

Asbury, et al (eds).
Diseases of the Nervous System: Clinical Neurobiology W.B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia, pp. 1364-1369 (1992)

Bradley, W, et al (eds).
Neurology in Clinical Practice: Principles of Diagnosis and Management Butterworth-Heinemann, Boston, pp. 1073-1074 (1991)

Coyle, P.
Neurologic Lyme Disease Seminars in Neurology, 12:3; 200-208 (September 1992)

Finkel, M, and Halperin, J.
Nervous System Lyme Borreliosis -- Revisited Archives of Neurology, 49; 102-107 (January 1992)

Lewis, R.
Getting Lyme Disease to Take a Hike FDA Consumer, Food and Drug Administration, Rockville, MD, pp. 5-8 (June 1994)

Malawista, S.
Lyme Disease In Cecil Textbook of Medicine, 19th edition, W.B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia, pp. 1772-1777 (1992)

 Organizations

Lyme Disease Foundation

One Financial Plaza
18th Floor
Hartford CT 06103-2601
lymefnd@aol.com
www.lyme.org
Tel: 860-525-2000 800-886-LYME (-5963)
Fax: 860-525-TICK (-8425)

NIAID/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

NIH
Bldg. 31, Rm. 7A50
Bethesda MD 20892-2520
(see website)
www.niaid.nih.gov
Tel: 301-496-5717

NIAMS/National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

NIH
Bldg. 31, Rm. 4C05
Bethesda MD 20892-2350
namsic@mail.nih.gov
www.nih.gov/niams/
Tel: 877-226-4267 301-496-8188


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Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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