There's a growing controversy, highlighted by current media coverage, over the existence of what a small but vocal number of patients refer to as 'chronic Lyme disease.' The majority of practitioners agree that Lyme disease has recognizable manifestations and is usually easily treatable with full resolution with a finite course of antibiotics.
--Catherine Lachenauer, MD, Boston Children's Hospital's director of the Infectious Diseases Outpatient Practice
As the weather turns warmer, many parents are concerned about keeping their kids safe from seasonal dangers, including sunburn, dehydration and swimming on a full stomach. A more recent addition to this list is tick bites, due to the rising public awareness – and number of reported cases – of Lyme disease (LD) in the United States.
Lyme disease is caused by a bite from a certain kind of tick known as a “black-legged tick” that has been infected with a bacterium. It’s not a chronic disease, and when discovered early, is easily treated with antibiotics; but left untreated, it can attack many systems of your child's body, including the skin, heart, nerves and joints.
- Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in the United States.
- You can’t catch Lyme disease from a person – it’s only acquired from a black-legged tick.
- You can contract Lyme disease even if you’ve had it – and been treated for it – before.
- Lyme disease is a year-round problem, although April through October is considered tick season, and 80 percent of Lyme disease cases occur in June and July.
- In the United States, most cases occur in the coastal Northeast, the mid-Atlantic region, Wisconsin, Minnesota and northern California.
How Children’s Hospital Boston approaches Lyme disease
The Division of Infectious Diseases at Children's provides comprehensive care for children and adolescents with Lyme disease and other types of infections. Our services include consultation, evaluation, treatment and management of long-term conditions.
|What parents should know|
|Read Children’s infectious disease expert Catherine Lachenauer, MD’s tips on how minimize your child's risk of Lyme disease.|
Reviewed by Fatma Dedeoglu, MD
© Children’s Hospital Boston; 2011