KidsMD Health Topics

Lyme Disease in Children

  • "Individualized evaluation is the optimal approach for treating a patient with Lyme disease. Most cases of Lyme disease resolve 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.

     

    Reviewed by Fatma Dedeoglu, MD
    © Children’s Hospital Boston; 2011

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