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News From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
July 25, 2017

Deceptive Lyme Disease Diagnosis Linked With Serious Infections

JAMA. 2017;318(4):324. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.8897

The CDC is fielding reports of serious bacterial infections resulting from treatments prescribed for “chronic Lyme disease”—a misleading diagnosis sometimes given for vague symptoms such as fatigue, generalized pain, or neurologic disorders.

Lyme disease is transmitted by Ixodes ticks infected with the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium. Symptoms include the classic erythema migrans rash, fatigue, fever, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes. Most patients recover after prompt antibiotic treatment, but a small percentage have debilitating symptoms that persist for more than 6 months.