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Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease illustration

What is Lyme disease?

This sneaky microbe can infect you if you are bitten by a tick, causing a red, ‘bullseye’-shaped rash and flu-like symptoms which can sometimes develop into a long-term condition.

Lyme Disease illustration

Risk areas for Lyme Disease

Map of risk areas for Lyme Disease
  • Key fact

    In most people who have been infected, a red, bulls-eye shaped rash develops within 30 days of the tick bite.1

  • How do people catch Lyme disease?

    Being bitten by an infected tick which carries the bacteria which cause Lyme Disease. Ticks are usually found in wooded, brushy, or grassy areas.2

  • Which countries are affected by Lyme disease?

    Northern hemisphere countries from North America through Europe to Russia and China (see map). The number of Lyme disease cases is the highest in central and eastern Europe.2

  • What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?

    Most people who have been infected develop an expanding, red, circular ‘bulls-eye’ rash around the bite. They may also have fatigue, fever, headache, mild stiff neck, and joint and muscle pain.2

  • How serious is Lyme disease?

    Lyme disease can be effectively treated with antibiotics. If untreated, it may eventually cause arthritis and possibly also problems with the heart and nervous system.2

  • Can I prevent getting Lyme disease?

    You can take the following precautions to help reduce your risk of infection:

    • Visit your nearest convenient pharmacy or specialist travel health clinic for a risk assessment before your trip
    • Avoid places – like long grass – where ticks live3,4
    • Use a recommended insect repellent containing either Picaridin, DEET, PMD or OLE (oil of lemon eucalyptus), IR3535 or 2-undecanone3
    • Wear appropriate clothing (e.g loose fitting long-sleeved clothes, long trousers, socks and shoes) to minimise exposed skin3
    • Check every day for ticks on yourself, children and pets. Carefully remove any that you find using a tick remover or tweezers. Gently grip the tick as close to the skin as possible and pull it upwards without twisting or crushing. Then wash your skin with water and soap or an antiseptic.4

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  1. European Centre for Disease Control. Factsheet about Borreliosis. March 2016. Available online: (Last accessed May 2023)
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yellow Book 2024. Section 5 Travel-Associated Infections & Diseases. Lyme Disease. May 2023. Available online: (Last accessed May 2023)
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yellow Book 2024. Section 4 Environmental Hazards & Risks. Mosquitoes, Ticks & Other Arthropods. May 2023. Available online: (Last accessed May 2023)
  4. NHS Choices. Conditions. Lyme disease. July 2021. Available online: (Last accessed May 2023)

UK-BOTB-2100025 (v2.0) May 2023