Lyme disease, chronic is a late stage of an inflammatory disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria and believed to be autoimmune related. It is also called Stage 3, or tertiary, Lyme disease. Lyme disease is transmitted by the bite of a deer tick.
Some people may not be treated for Lyme disease because they do not have any symptoms or their symptoms are mild. Chronic persistent Lyme disease may develop months or even years after the Lyme disease infection. Even people who were treated may develop chronic persistent Lyme disease. Chronic persistent Lyme disease can affect the skin, brain, and nervous system, and muscles, bones, and cartilage. Symptoms include: chronic arthritis, fatigue, headaches, joint inflammation in the knees and other large joints, memory loss, mood changes, sleep disorders, abnormal sensitivity to light, numbness and tingling. A blood test can be done to check for antibodies to the bacteria that cause Lyme disease. Antibiotics are given to fight the infection. Chronic persistent Lyme disease is treated for up to 28 days with antibiotics. If arthritis symptoms do not go away, a second 2 – 4 week course of antibiotics may sometimes be used. Treating patients for longer periods of time is generally not thought to be helpful, even if symptoms do not go away.