CausesBy Mayo Clinic staff
CLICK TO ENLARGE
In the United States, Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which is carried primarily by deer ticks. The ticks are brown and when young, they're often no bigger than the head of a pin, which can make them nearly impossible to spot.
To contract Lyme disease, an infected deer tick must bite you. The bacteria enter your skin through the bite and eventually make their way into your bloodstream. In most cases, to transmit Lyme disease, a deer tick must be attached for 36 to 48 hours. If you find an attached tick that looks swollen, it may have fed long enough to transmit bacteria. Removing the tick as soon as possible may prevent infection.
- Lyme disease. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/. Accessed June 19, 2012.
- Bismacine/chromacine. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/SafetyAlertsforHumanMedicalProducts/ucm150503.htm. Accessed June 19, 2012.
- Wormser GP, et al. The clinical assessment, treatment and prevention of Lyme disease, human granulocytic anaplasmosis and babesiosis: Clinical practice guidelines by the Infectious Disease Society of America. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2006;43:1089.
- Lyme disease. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/lymeDisease/understanding/Pages/intro.aspx. Accessed June 19, 2012.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online.18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=9102369. Accessed June 19, 2012.