Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is spread to humans by infected blacklegged ticks, tiny spider-like insects found in woodland areas and tall grass. Their bites are not painful, so you may not realize that you have one attached to your skin. The longer the tick is in place, the higher the risk of infection.
Lyme disease is caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, present in many different animals including mice, deer, pheasants and blackbirds. Ticks can then transfer the bacteria to a human by biting them and feeding on their blood after biting an infected animal.
The earliest and most common symptom of Lyme disease is a red circular rash that develops around the area of the bite, 3-30 days after someone is bitten. The rash often resembles a bull’s-eye. You may also experience flu-like symptoms, such as tiredness, headaches and muscle or joint pain. Lyme disease can affect your skin, joints, heart and nervous system.