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Lyme Disease

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Updated June 28, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Jim Wehtje/Getty Images

Tick bites can spread the bacteria that cause Lyme disease.

Jim Wehtje/Getty Images
Definition:

Lyme disease is an inflammatory disease that can impact the joints, heart and nervous system. Symptoms include rash, fever, headaches and joint pain. Lyme disease is caused by a species of bacteria that's most often spread to humans through tick bites.

Chronic Lyme disease is a controversial diagnosis -- not all doctors believe that it exists. Those who believe in it think that antibiotic treatment that usually cures Lyme may sometimes be ineffective, leading to an on-going infection that can cause persistent and possibly debilitating symptoms.

Some chronic fatigue syndrome doctors and researchers believe that chronic Lyme disease may play a role in causing and/or sustaining chronic fatigue syndrome. Research has thus far failed to confirm the connection.

Common Misspellings: Lymes disease, Lime disease, Limes disease
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