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Early Disseminated Lyme Disease Symptoms

Lyme Disease Test Kit

Some testing labs offer 'mail-in' Lyme disease test kits

The initial skin rash and brief period of fatigue, fever, chills, and joint pain associated with early Lyme disease symptoms often dissipates within a week to a month.  The same symptoms, often more severe, may then recur shortly afterwards along with neck pain and stiffness, paraesthesia, and lymph node inflammation.  The spread of Lyme disease infection into the bloodstream from the initial tick-bite also leads to problems with the peripheral nervous system in this early stage of dissemination.  This can lead to numbness or tingling in the extremities, known as polyneuropathy or radiculoneuritis, and the possibility of facial palsy (paralysis) for some patients.

Recurring Lyme Disease Symptoms

In the early disseminated stage of Lyme disease symptoms, including the erythema migrans rash and joint pain, may re-appear at sites across the body, far away from the initial infection.  Those contracting Lyme disease in Europe, but not usually in North America, may develop borrelial lymphocytoma which is an inflammation of a lymph node.  Common sites for this purplish lump are the ear lobe, nipple, and scrotum, although it can occur on the face or other area of the body.  General swelling of the lymph glands may also occur as the body tries to fight the infection, leading to tenderness around the lower jaw, neck, armpits, and groin.

Early disseminated Lyme disease symptoms also include heart palpitations and dizziness, migrating and intermittent aches and pains in the muscles, joints, and tendons, and acute neurological problems.  Neuroborreliosis is thought to occur in around 5-15% of patients who do not receive treatment and the most common symptom is facial palsy which can occur either unilaterally or bilaterally.  The development of neurological symptoms of Lyme disease varies between geographical region due to the differing nature of the infectious spirochaete.  In the US it is thought that around 60% of patients with untreated Lyme disease will go on to develop intermittent bouts of arthritis, with the larger joints (such as the knees) more susceptible to pain and swelling. 

Neurological Lyme Disease – Neuroborreliosis

Neurological Lyme disease symptoms are less common with infection by B. burgdorferi (s.s.), which is the only confirmed cause of Lyme disease in North America, occurring in less than 5% of untreated patients.  Changes in vision also occur in some patients, along with light-sensitivity, a persistent headache, and severe neck stiffness, all of which may indicate meningitis with or without the associated skin rash.  Such symptoms require urgent medical attention.  Radiculoneuritis (abnormal skin sensations) sometimes occur, which can severely disrupt a patient’s sleep.  In a small number of cases, the development of mild encephalitis with subsequent sleep disruption, memory loss, and irritability or mood irregularities are the only indicators of neuroborreliosis and early disseminated Lyme disease.

Continue Reading –> Late-Stage Lyme Disease