Font Size:

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a disease caused by the bite of a tick. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected Blacklegged (Deer) Tick. It is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. However, in Alabama, there are not many cases of Lyme disease due to Alabama being considered low-incidence. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat. In Alabama, cases happen more between March and October when ticks are active.


Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings, and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks. Untreated Lyme disease can produce a wide range of symptoms, depending on the stage of infection.

Some early signs and symptoms, which occur within 3 to 30 days after a tick bite include:

  • Erythema migrans (EM) rash
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes

A few later signs and symptoms, which occur days to months after the tick bite include:

  • Severe headaches and neck stiffness
  • Additional EM rashes
  • Facial palsy
  • Arthritis
  • Heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat
  • Episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath
  • Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
  • Nerve pain


The goals of treatment for Lyme disease are to eliminate the infection, relieve symptoms, prevent the disease from progressing to more severe stages, and prevent complications. If you suspect you have been exposed to ticks or are experiencing symptoms consistent with the disease, it is important to seek medical attention promptly. The antibiotics most commonly used to treat Lyme disease include doxycycline, amoxicillin, or cefuroxime axetil.


Prevention begins with you! Reducing exposure to ticks is the best defense against Lyme disease. In persons exposed to tick-infested habitats, prompt, careful inspection, and removal of crawling or attached ticks is an important method of preventing disease.


CDC Information on Lyme Disease

CDC: Tickborne Diseases, Lyme

CDC Lyme Disease Prevention Fact Sheet: English | Spanish | Brazilian Portuguese | Tagalog | Simplified Chinese

CDC Digital Press Kit: Understanding Lyme and Other Tickborne Diseases

Page last updated: November 14, 2023