Bug Of The Month: Lyme Disease

Technical Names: Lyme Disease

Lyme Map: Lyme has a definite geographic distribution. According to the CDC you’ll find Lyme in these three areas:

  • Northeast: Massachusetts to Maryland.
  • North-central states: especially Wisconsin and Minnesota.
  • West Coast: especially northern California.

Nicknames: Lyme Disease, Lyme

What it is: tick-borne infection from ticks of the Ixodes genussed by the bacteria borrelia borgoferi

Typical Ages for Illness: any

Typical Symptoms: Lyme Disease has three stages.

  • Early: is a characteristic rash at the site of the tic bite called erythema migrans. Its main property is an expanding, red circle.
  • The second phase is more disseminated: multiple erythema migrans patches occur in 15% of patients, other symptoms that can occur during this phase are arthritis, conjunctivitis, nerve palsies, headache and fatigue. Other uncommon issues can develop during this phase if untreated.
  • Late disease is chronic arthritis of the large joints, usually knees. This is very, very uncommon in kids who have been treated.

Etiology: Borrelia burgdorferi , a spirochete bacteria

Seasonal Issues: spring and summer when tics are out; geographic distribution includes New England, eastern mid-Atlantic states, upper Midwest in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

How’s It Spread? Via tick bite of infected tic

Incubation Period: 1-55 days with a mean of 11 days. Late symptoms occur months to years later.

Diagnosis: clinical if rash present; quick lab assay that will remain positive for life – so it can be used for diagnosis but not to confirm if treatment was effective.

Prevention: REMOVE THE TICK if you remove the tic with in 2 days, Lyme will not get transmitted from the tick to the person its attached to. So, the sooner than better. How to remove? Take a tweezers and grab the tick on the head. Gently pull up and the tic will release. Don’t worry if the tikc’s small pincers stay attached to the skin – those don’t carry disease and will not cause harm.


Antibiotics for 14-21 days orally for early disease. More complicated disease and late disease needs to be treated longer and sometimes by IV antibiotics.

Call Your Pediatrician if your child has: A tick bite where a characteristic rash began to form.

School and After school Activity Issues: no restrictions. This is not contagious person to person.

Internet Resources For Parents

CDC Lyme Page

Tick Management Handbook

Tick Bite Prevention

Internet Resources for Kids and Teens

Lyme Info For Kids

Lyme Info For Teens