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Signs and Symptoms of Untreated Lyme Disease

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Seek medical attention if you observe any of these symptoms and have had a tick bite, live in an area known for Lyme disease, or have recently traveled to an area where Lyme disease occurs.

Untreated Lyme disease can produce a wide range of symptoms, depending on the stage of infection. These include fever, rash, facial paralysis, and arthritis.

Early Signs and Symptoms (3 to 30 Days After Tick Bite)

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The appearance of the erythema migrans rash can vary widely.

  • Fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes may occur in the absence of rash
  • Erythema migrans (EM) rash (see photos):
    • Occurs in approximately 70 to 80 percent of infected persons
    • Begins at the site of a tick bite after a delay of 3 to 30 days (average is about 7 days)
    • Expands gradually over several days reaching up to 12 inches or more (30 cm) across
    • May feel warm to the touch but is rarely itchy or painful
    • Sometimes clears as it enlarges, resulting in a target or “bull’s-eye” appearance
    • May appear on any area of the body
    • Does not always appear as a “classic” erythema migrans rash

Photos of Rashes

Later Signs and Symptoms (days to months after tick bite)

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Swollen Knee

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Facial Palsy

  • Severe headaches and neck stiffness
  • Additional EM rashes on other areas of the body
  • Facial palsy (loss of muscle tone or droop on one or both sides of the face)
  • Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and other large joints.
  • Intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
  • Heart palpitations or an irregular heart beat (Lyme carditis)
  • Episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath
  • Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
  • Nerve pain
  • Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet

Diagnosis and Testing

More about rashes

Diagnosis & Testing

Treatment

Page last reviewed: January 15, 2021

Content source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID), Division of Vector-Borne Diseases (DVBD)

Original Article – https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/signs_symptoms/index.html

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