Lyme Disease

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.

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Key Facts around Lyme Disease

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 this disease?

    Being bitten by an infected tick which carries the bacteria which cause Lyme Disease.3 Ticks climb onto your clothes or skin as you walk through dense vegetation and then feed on your blood. They are also frequently found on animals.

  • Which countries are affected?

    Northern hemisphere countries from North America through Europe to Russia and China (see map). The number of Lyme Disease cases in Europe has been steadily increasing.2,3

  • What are the symptoms?

    Most people who have been infected develop an expanding, red, circular ‘bulls-eye’ rash around the bite. They may also have fatigue, fever, headache, a stiff neck, and joint and muscle pain.3,4

  • How serious is the disease?

    Lyme disease is effectively treated with antibiotics. If untreated, it may eventually cause arthritis and possibly also problems with the heart and nervous system.3,4

  • Can I reduce the chances of catching Lyme disease?

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

    • Visit a travel health clinic to assess the risks of the planned trip and get advice about available vaccinations and further precautions. Click here to find your nearest travel health clinic and make an appointment:
    • Avoid places – like long grass – where ticks live3
    • Use a recommended insect repellent containing either Icaridin (e.g Moskito Guard®, for more information please see or DEET.5
    • Wear appropriate clothing (e.g long-sleeved clothes and long trousers).5
    • Check every day for ticks that may have attached themselves to your body. 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 away without twisting or crushing. Then wash your skin with water and soap and apply an antiseptic cream.6
  1. European Centre for Disease Control. Factsheet about Borreliosis. March 2016 . Online available: (last accessed October 2022)
  2. Lyme neuroborreliosis: infection immunity, and inflammation. Pachner Andrew R. et al. Lancet Neurol. 2007; 6: 544–52
  3. WHO. Fact sheet Lyme borreliosis. Online available: Eng.pdf (last accessed October 2022)
  4. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention. Yellow book. Chapter 4. Lyme Diseases. Online available: related-infectious-diseases/lyme-disease (last accessed October 2022)
  5. Gesundheit.GV.AT. Borreliose (Lyme-). Online available: krankheiten/borreliose (last accessed October 2022)

  6. Gesundheit.GV.AT.Krankheiten. Zeckenentfernung Online available: entfernen.html (last accessed October 2022)

20 Feb 2023
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