is a tick born disease.Early symptoms may include fever, headache, fatigue, depression
, and a characteristic circular skin rash
.In most cases, the infection and its symptoms are eliminated by antibiotics, especially if the illness is treated early.
The incubation period
from infection to the onset of symptoms is usually one to two weeks, but can be much shorter (days), or much longer (months to years). Symptoms most often occur from May through September, because the nymphal stage of the tick is responsible for most cases. Asymptomatic infection exists, but occurs in less than 7% of infected individuals in the United States. Asymptomatic infection may be much more common among those infected in Europe.
The most widely used tests are serologies, which measure levels of specific antibodies
in a patient's blood. These tests may be negative in early infection, before the body has produced significant quantites of antibody, but they are considered a reliable aid in the diagnosis of later stages of Lyme disease.
The disease may not show up in the blood until 2 to 6 weeks after infection. And other kinds of infection can cause a positive test, even when Lyme disease is not present. For this reason, some healthcare providers begin treatment for Lyme disease regardless of blood test
results, if symptoms and exposure to ticks strongly suggest Lyme disease.
(Quantitative Rapid Identification of Borrelia Burgdorferi
) - A new testing method, that potentially represents a major breakthrough, is the Q-RiBb test, which has now been approved a US patent.