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Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne infectious disease in Europe and North America. People who spend time in woodland or heath areas are more at risk of developing Lyme disease because these areas are where tick-carrying animals, such as deer and mice, live.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection spread to humans by infected ticks - tiny arachnids that feed on the blood of mammals, including humans. Tick bites often go unnoticed and the tick can remain feeding for several days before dropping off. The longer the tick is in place, the higher the risk of it passing on the infection.
The most common symptom of Lyme disease is a pink or red circular rash (like a bull’s-eye on a dart board) that develops around the area of the bite, three to 30 days after someone is bitten. You may also experience flu-like symptoms, such as tiredness, headaches and muscle or joint pain.
If Lyme disease is left untreated, further symptoms may develop months or even years later and can include:
Chronic Lyme disease can trigger symptoms similar to those of fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome.