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 1/31/2018
Updated by: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.