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Lyme Disease

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Prevention and Treatment

There is not currently a human vaccine available to prevent Lyme disease, but standard precautions can greatly reduce the risk of becoming infected. Precautions include wearing light-colored long-sleeved shirts and pants, tucking pant legs into socks, wearing closed shoes, avoiding wooded and grassy areas especially in spring and early summer, using a tick repellant, checking for ticks after spending time outside, and removing ticks as soon as they are found. Pets should also be routinely checked for ticks.

Lyme disease is usually treated with oral antibiotics for 2-4 weeks. Some people may require intravenous antibiotics. In most cases, those with Lyme disease recover rapidly and completely. In some cases, especially with late-stage Lyme disease, some joint pain and neurological damage may persist. For more on Lyme disease treatment, see this CDC web page.

In about 10-20% of people treated for Lyme disease with the recommended course of antibiotics, symptoms including fatigue and joint and muscle pain linger, sometimes for more than 6 months. This has been given the name Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS). Research is ongoing to better understand the cause of this syndrome. People should be aware that if their symptoms continue after treatment, they should contact their doctor to discuss ways in which to manage these symptoms. For more information, see the CDC's web page on PTLDS.

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