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Johns Hopkins Health - Outsmart Lyme Disease

Summer 2016
Issue No. 33

Outsmart Lyme Disease

Date: July 7, 2016

The Latest on Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease

Summer heat ushers in a rise of Lyme disease, a bacterial infection transmitted by infected ticks. Lyme is notoriously tricky to diagnose, but left untreated it can cause serious problems of the heart, nervous system and joints.

We talked to John Aucott, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center, for some straight talk on Lyme.

  • Look for a bull’s-eye rash. At the site of a tick bite, a raised red mark with concentric circles might appear one to two weeks later. (Sometimes the rash is just round and red, like a spider bite.)
  • Symptoms mimic that of flu. Either along with the rash or after it disappears, you may feel fluish, with a fever, swollen glands, joint pain and fatigue. At this point, a blood test will reveal antibodies to Lyme. Note that most cases of Lyme appear in June and July.
  • Treatment is 80 to 90 percent successful. Antibiotics eradicate the bacteria. If the disease is more advanced, it can affect the nerves, joints or heart, in which case you may need intravenous antibiotics.
  • Some Lyme is chronic. About 10 percent of patients end up with lingering symptoms. Investigators at Johns Hopkins are studying why this happens, in a search for a permanent cure.


In this webinar, infectious disease expert John Aucott, M.D., presents the facts about Lyme disease, including the latest treatment options and promising clinical research that is underway.