According to the CDC, most people contract Lyme disease from immature ticks, called nymphs. Nymphs are very small (less than 2 millimeters) and can be very hard to see. Adult ticks also carry the disease, but are bigger and easier to see so they are usually removed before Lyme disease can be transmitted.
The signs and symptoms of Lyme disease can include:
- A red, expanding rash, called erythema migrans (EM) 3 to 30 days post bite. An EM is also known as a "bullseye rash" and gradually expands over the course of several days. It can reach up to 12 inches across, and usually feels warm to the touch but rarely itchy or painful. An EM can occur anywhere on the body, and occurs in 70 to 80 percent of tick-bite victims.
- Fatigue, chills, fever, headache, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes 3 to 30 days post bite.
- Additional EM rashes on other parts of the body.
- Loss of muscle tone on one or both sides of the face (also known as Facial or Bell's Palsy).
- Severe headache or neck stiffness due to meningitis (inflammation of the spinal cord).
- Pain and swelling in joints.
- Sharp shooting pains that interfere with sleep.
- Heart palpitations and dizziness due to changes in heart rate, also known as Lyme carditis.
According to the CDC, appropriate antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease results in a rapid and complete recovery in 80 to 90 percent of patients. The most common antibiotics used for oral treatment are doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime axetil.
The main symptom of STARI is a "bullseye" lesion that appears within 7 days of being bitten by an infected tick, which can grow to be 3 inches in diameter. Other symptoms include:
- Muscle pains.
According to the CDC, it is unknown if antibiotics are necessary or beneficial in treating STARI. However, since the symptoms closely resemble early Lyme disease, many patients are treated with oral antibiotics.
- Fever, headache, vomiting, and confusion.
- Weakness and loss of coordination.
- Speech difficulties.
- Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and meningitis (inflammation of the spinal cord).
Some people who are infected with POW do not exhibit any symptoms. However, about 50 percent of people who are infected experience long-term neurological problems, including recurring headaches, muscle wasting, and memory problems. POW is fatal in about 10 percent of cases.
According to the CDC, there are no vaccines or medications to prevent or treat POW. People with severe cases usually need to be hospitalized, and treatments can include respiratory support, IV fluids, and medications to reduce any brain swelling.
- Abdominal and muscle pain.
- Lack of appetite.
- Conjunctival infection (red eyes).
The first line of treatment for adults and children of all ages diagnosed with RMSF is the antibiotic doxycycline, and works best when administered within five days of symptoms. Most patients who are treated early make a fast and complete recovery, but those who experience a severe case might require prolonged hospitalization, intravenous antibiotics, or intensive care.
- Headache, body aches, or joint pain.
There is no vaccine or antiviral treatment for West Nile virus. Most patients use over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce fever and ease some symptoms. In severe cases, some patients need to be hospitalized to receive supportive treatment, such as intravenous fluids or prescription pain medications.
- Encephalitis (inflammation of the brain).
- Sudden onset of headache.
- Sudden onset of fever and chills.
- As the disease progresses, other symptoms can include: