Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection characterized by the presence of a typical rash similar to a bull's eye. It is transmitted through the bite of a tick (a tiny insect that feeds on the blood of mammals or birds). This infection occurs when the bacteria enters the skin through the bitten area and spreads through blood. It represents itself by a typical rash and flu-like symptoms. It is not a contagious disease. It can be detected by ELISA test and western blot test. It can be managed with antibiotics.

Is Lyme Disease Contagious From Person To Person?

Scientific studies have shown that Lyme disease is not a contagious disease. Anyone cannot get the infection by kissing, touching or having a sex with another infected person. Lyme disease cannot spread from infected person to a healthy one. It can infect an embryo in the womb during pregnancy, but can be managed efficiently with antibiotics. However, there is no evidence that it can be transmitted through breast milk.

Scientists say that individuals who are on antibiotics for Lyme disease should not donate blood before completion of the course. They also add to the fact that transmission of Lyme infection is not possible through air, food, water or bites of flies, mosquitoes, fleas or lice.

Transmission of the bacteria is also not possible when an infected person shares a sexual relationship with a healthy person. It is only possible for both the partners to catch the infection when both are bitten by infected ticks.

The bacteria invade the skin at the site of the bite and travel through the blood to cause the symptoms. The symptoms typically appear in 3 to 30 days after the bite. The symptoms may appear or disappear constantly.

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection which is marked by an atypical rash that appears like bull's eyes. This disease is transmitted by the bite of infected deer ticks which feed on human blood. The bacterium that causes Lyme disease is named as Borrelia burgdorferi. It is spread by black-legged tick found in northeastern, mid-Atlantic and north-central United States.

Human beings are infected with this bacteria when the ticks attach themselves to the human body for 36-48 hours or more to transmit the bacteria. Ticks are so small creatures that it is very hard to see them and moreover they don't cause pain when they bite. The parts of the body where they attach themselves can be scalp, armpit or groin regions.

All the species of ticks do not transmit the bacteria and not every individual who is bitten by ticks can develop this disease. Mostly, the immature ticks named as nymphs infect humans by these bacteria. They are very tiny to be visible by bare eyes. They mostly infect humans in the spring and summer season. Adult ticks can also transmit the disease but can be seen easily.

Symptoms of Lyme Disease

The symptoms of Lyme disease are-

  • A rash appears at the site of tick bite which is known as erythema migrans. It appears like a bull's eye on the dartboard. It may be present in other parts of the body in few patients with Lyme disease.
  • Flu-like symptoms also develop in some people with Lyme disease. These are high fever, headaches, chills, fatigue, muscle pain, joint pain, swelling in the lymph nodes and stiffness in the neck.
  • If Lyme disease is not treated properly or in time, it may progress to serious complications like inflammatory arthritis, meningitis, neurological problems and heart ailments in the span of weeks, months or years.

Conclusion

Lyme disease is a bacterial disease that is spread by the bite of deer ticks. It is not contagious and it does not spread from an infected person to another healthy person through touching, kissing, or sexual relationship. Its transmission cannot happen through air, food, water or bites of mosquito, lice, fleas or flies.

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Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: October 30, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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