What Are the Stages of Lyme Disease

Happy Kumari   by Happy Kumari, M.S., Biotechnology    Last updated on December 26, 2020,

Lyme disease is a vector-borne disease. It is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii. It is transmitted to humans through infected black-legged tick bites. It causes headache, fatigue, skin rash (erythema migraine), and if left untreated, it can spread into the bones, heart, and nervous system. In most cases, Lyme disease can be treated successfully within a week or two with antibiotics.

There are three stages of Lyme disease:

Early Localized Disease

It develops within days to weeks after being infected. A bull eye rash appears at the tick bite site. This stage is curable and not very dangerous. The symptoms of the early localized disease include:

  • Fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Stiff neck and headache
  • Flu-like illness
  • Chills and fever
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle soreness
  • Skin rash
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Early Disseminated Lyme

This occurs after several weeks or months after the tick bite. In this stage, the bacteria starts to spread inside the body. This also happens if the early localized disease is left untreated. It possesses similar symptoms to that of early localized disease; some of the symptoms of early disseminated Lyme are:

  • Facial paralysis (Bell’s palsy)
  • Chills
  • Palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Numbness in arms
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Change in vision

Late Disseminated Lyme Disease

This is also known as post-treatment, chronic, or neurological Lyme disease. This usually occurs when the other two stages are left untreated or poorly treated. It may even occur after weeks, months, and even years after tick bites. In this type of Lyme disease, the bacteria spread inside the body and can cause chronic arthritis and increased cardiac and neurological complications. Some of the symptoms of late disseminated Lyme disease are:

  • Vertigo
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Concentration issues, mental fogginess
  • Numbness in arms, hands, and feet
  • Intense fatigue
  • Severe headaches and migraines
  • Arthritis
  • Stiff neck

Frequently Asked Questions

It can be fatal in some cases, However, if the treatment is provided in the early stages, it gets cured easily.

Repellents for ticks and even other insect repellents can help to prevent the disease. Chemicals like permethrin can be sprayed over clothes while you are camping.

Yes, pets can quickly get Lyme disease, and thus, they need to wear a tick collar.

Various antibiotics can be used, but some of them which are widely used are doxycycline, amoxicillin, and cefuroxime.

Happy Kumari

Happy Kumari is a biotechnologist with Masters degree in Biotechnology. She has pursued her Bachelors and Masters degrees from Amity University, Noida. She aspires to contribute in the field of healthcare and research. Happy has worked at Effectual Knowledge Services as a Patent Associate.


Currently she is associated with Maxinov Solutions Private LTD as Research Analyst and a medical content writer at Diseasefix.


Happy's area of interest includes research in the field of Cancer Biology.

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