Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • Most common tick-borne illness in North America
  • Endemic in Northeast, Upper Midwest, and northwestern California


  • Peak April–November; 80–90% in summer months
  • Spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi introduced by Ixodes tick:
    • Ixodes dammini (deer tick) most common
  • <50% of patients recall tick bite.
  • Pathogenesis—combination of:
    • Organism-induced local inflammation
    • Cytokine release
    • Autoimmunity
  • No person-to-person transmission
  • Borrelia miyamotoi, a spirochete related to B. burgdorferi, has recently been described as causing disease similar to Lyme disease.

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