Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne illness in the United States, affecting an estimated fifteen thousand Americans each year. Common symptoms usually include joint pain and fatigue. Untreated, Lyme disease can eventually involve the central nervous system and cause deficits in attention, memory, speed of processing, and executive function.
Treatment of Lyme disease with antibiotics in the early acute phase usually results in symptom remission and cure. However, if the tick-borne spirochete enters the bloodstream and disseminates in other organ systems, intravenous antibiotics are usually necessary for definitive treatment. In exceedingly rare cases, the disease can result in persisting cognitive symptoms. When this happens, an intensive evaluation including spinal tap and cerebrospinal fluid analysis is needed to support the diagnosis.
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