Lyme Disease



Lyme disease is an infection caused by bacteria you get from a blacklegged tick bite. Lyme disease is the most common infection from ticks in Virginia. People of any age can get Lyme disease, as well as dogs and cats.


Most people (>75%) will get a red rash (“bull’s-eye” rash) around the tick bite within days or weeks of the bite. The rash can expand up to 12 inches in diameter and often clears around the center. The rash does not itch or hurt.

Bull's-eye rash on a person's leg

Other symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Painful and swollen joints
  • Muscle aches
  • Swollen glands


If you have any of these symptoms and think you were bitten by a tick, contact a healthcare provider. If left untreated, Lyme disease can cause serious health problems that may affect your joints, heart, and nervous system.


  • Infected blacklegged ticks (or deer ticks) spread bacteria that can cause Lyme disease when they bite a person or animal.
  • In most cases, the tick must be attached to your body for 36 to 48 hours or more.
  • You are most likely to get a tick bite in late spring and early summer when young ticks are active and feeding. However, adult blacklegged ticks are active all winter and can also transmit Lyme disease.


Prevent Lyme Disease by following these Tick Bite Prevention and Tick Removal Tips.


There are tests for Lyme disease. These tests collect a sample of your blood or cerebrospinal fluid to look for signs of infection. Please reach out to your healthcare provider to talk about getting tested. 


Treatment is available. Lyme disease can usually be cured after a few weeks of taking antibiotic medicine.