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Lyme disease is an acute inflammatory disease characterized by skin changes, joint inflammation and flu-like symptoms caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi transmitted by the bite of a deer tick. Symptoms resolve in 3 to 4 weeks even without treatment, but secondary or tertiary disease may develop if initial infection is not treated.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; and Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.