Lyme disease is an illness caused by the bite of a tick
infected with a bacterium called Borrelia
The disease may affect the skin, nervous
system, heart and joints. Lyme disease is found
mainly in the eastern and some mid-west states of
the United States.
Who gets Lyme disease?
Anyone can get Lyme disease, especially campers,
hikers, and others who frequent wooded, brushy,
and grassy places where ixodid ticks are found.
How is Lyme disease spread?
People get Lyme disease from a tick bite.
transmission of the infectious organism appears to
require that the tick be attached for at least 24 hours.
People who do not remove the tick immediately
have a higher chance of getting Lyme disease.
Some people become ill after crushing a tick with their hands because the tick’s body fluids get into cuts or scratches in the skin.
There is no evidence of person-to-person transmission. However, rare cases of
transmission have been reported from a pregnant
mother to her fetus, and infection from blood
What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is difficult to recognize because the
symptoms mimic those of other diseases.
usually starts with a circular red rash, at or near the
site of the tick bite, which often expands to a large
size. There may be a clearing in the center of the rash
so it begins to look like a target.
Along with the rash, “influenza-like” symptoms may
appear such as:
Muscle and joint pain
The joints, nervous system
and heart may be affected weeks to months after the
initial tick bite.
A small number of people with Lyme
disease may develop symptoms during later stages
of the disease without having had the earlier skin
The rash or “influenza-like” symptoms usually begin
within a month after the tick bite.
What is the treatment for Lyme disease?
Doctors treat patients with Lyme disease with
antibiotics. Intravenous medication may be required
for some cases.
Can a person get Lyme disease more than
Yes. One infection with Lyme disease does not stop a
person from getting it again.
How should a tick be removed?
Ticks should be removed promptly and carefully by
using tweezers and applying gentle steady traction.
Do not crush the tick’s body when removing it and
apply the tweezers as close to the skin as possible to
avoid leaving tick mouthparts in the skin.
remove ticks with your bare hands.
hands with gloves, cloth or tissue and be sure to
wash your hands after removing a tick.
How can Lyme disease be prevented?
Avoid tick-infested areas, especially during the
months of May, June, and July.
Wear light colored clothing so ticks can be easily
Wear a long-sleeved shirt, hat, long pants,
and tuck your pant legs into your socks.
Walk in the center of trails to avoid overhanging
grass and brush.
Check your body daily for ticks when you spend
a lot of time outdoors in tick-infested areas.
are most often found on the thigh, arms,
underarms and legs. Ticks can be very small (no
bigger than a pinhead).
Look carefully for new “freckles.”
Use insect repellents containing DEET on your
skin or permethrin on clothing.
Be sure to follow the directions on the container and wash off repellents when going indoors.
Remove attached ticks immediately.
Where can I get more information?
Contact your physician or the Southern Nevada Health District, Office of Epidemiology at (702) 759-1300.