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Lyme disease is a bacterial infection acquired by the bite of a tick. It occurs most commonly during warm periods of the year when ticks are most active (April through October). Symptoms can appear weeks, months or even years after the tick bite.
Children can be exposed to this infection when playing outside. The highest rate of Lyme disease is found in children age 5 to 9.
Most cases of Lyme disease occur in the upper Midwest and Northeast. However, the incidence of the disease has increased in Indiana over recent years.
A child with Lyme disease may have the following symptoms:
Stage 1: “Early Localized” (a few days to four weeks after the tick bite)
Stage 2: “Early Disseminated” (three to 10 weeks after the tick bite)
Stage 3: “Late Disease” (two to 12 months and sometimes years after the tick bite)
It is important that a pediatric infectious disease specialist evaluate your child if he or she has symptoms of Lyme disease. Understanding Lyme disease and knowing the proper testing is critical to appropriate diagnosis.
At Riley at IU Health, a diagnosis is based on your child’s:
In severe cases, additional testing may include analysis of joint fluid or spinal fluid and/or an electrocardiogram (EKG).
A pediatric infectious disease specialist knows how to:
The earlier your child is treated, the better his or her chance for recovery without relapse. Most children with Lyme disease require antibiotic treatment for two to four weeks, depending on the stage of illness. If your child has severe disease, intravenous (IV) antibiotics may be required which often includes a stay in the hospital.
Learn more about Lyme disease by visiting the trusted websites below.
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