Lyme disease is an acute inflammatory disease characterized by skin changes, joint inflammation and symptoms similar to the flu that is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme disease is transmitted by the bite of a deer tick. Symptoms sometimes improve in 3 to 4 weeks, but secondary or tertiary disease may develop if initial infection is not treated.
Review Date 7/21/2022
Updated by: Frank D. Brodkey, MD, FCCM, Associate Professor, Section of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, Madison, WI. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.