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    Understanding Lyme Disease -- the Basics

    What Is Lyme Disease?

    First identified in a group of children in Lyme, Connecticut, Lyme disease has now been found in nearly all states and 18 other countries. Most cases -- more than 96% -- are reported in these 14 states:

    • Connecticut
    • Delaware
    • Maine
    • Maryland
    • Massachusetts
    • Minnesota
    • New Hampshire
    • New Jersey
    • New York
    • Pennsylvania
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    • Virginia
    • Wisconsin

    Because the symptoms are random and vague (aside from a bull's-eye rash), Lyme disease can be hard to diagnose. For this reason, people living in high-risk areas should be knowledgeable about Lyme disease.

    Recommended Related to Arthritis

    Scleroderma Diagnosis and Treatment

    If you think you have scleroderma, tell your doctor what symptoms you've noticed. In order to make a diagnosis, he'll ask you about your family's health history, look for changes in how thick your skin is, and do some tests. He may look at your finger under a microscope to check for changes in tiny blood vessels. These start to vanish early on in scleroderma. He’ll likely take a blood sample and send it to the lab to see if your immune system is in overdrive. Your doctor may also take a small...

    Read the Scleroderma Diagnosis and Treatment article > >

    What Causes Lyme Disease?

    Lyme disease is caused by bacteria transmitted through the bite of the tiny black-legged, or deer, tick found in the Eastern and Central U.S., and the western black-legged tick in the Pacific West. The riskiest months for Lyme disease are May through September, when young ticks are likely to be biting.

    In humans, the bacteria may cause flu-like symptoms. If left untreated, it may attack many tissues -- including the heart and nervous system -- and trigger an immune response that can lead to Lyme arthritis.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on April 05, 2016

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