Lyme Disease in Children and Adolescents | Adolescent Medicine | JAMA Pediatrics | JAMA Network
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Advice for Patients
January 3, 2011

Lyme Disease in Children and Adolescents

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2011;165(1):96. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2010.268

Lyme disease is caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi. People can get Lyme disease if they are bitten by a black-legged tick that is infected with this bacterium. This tick is often found in areas with high populations of deer.

Lyme disease can infect several parts of the body, so different symptoms may occur at different times. Not all patients with Lyme disease have all symptoms, and many of these symptoms can also occur with other illnesses. If you think your child may have Lyme disease, it is important to see your pediatrician. Symptoms may include the following:

Lyme disease is diagnosed by noting symptoms and physical findings such as the rash. Another important part of diagnosing Lyme disease is considering where the patient lives. Certain states and counties within the United States, such as in the Northeast and upper Midwest, have higher rates of Lyme disease. In these areas, doctors may have a greater concern for Lyme disease in patients with symptoms such as rash, fever, or facial palsy. A study in this month's Archives showed that including information about geographical location in the diagnosis improved the doctor's ability to diagnose Lyme disease. A blood test for Lyme disease can be done if the diagnosis is not clear.