Coronavirus or Lyme Disease?

Coronavirus is likely to be at the forefront of our minds over the coming months. Any new flu-like symptoms may make us consider whether we have been infected with the virus. 

Lyme disease can be contracted by the bite of an infected tick and symptoms of acute Lyme disease may overlap with coronavirus symptoms. Ticks are active at this time of year and infected ticks have been found in every county in the UK, in parks and urban gardens

If you are suffering with flu-like symptoms:

If you are still feeling unwell following NHS advice for coronavirus, it may be worth considering whether you have unknowingly been bitten by an infected tick and contracted Lyme disease. Tick bites are usually painless and may go unnoticed. Symptoms of Lyme disease can occur weeks or months after a tick bite and require treatment with antibiotics. Contact your GP (rather than calling 111 services) if you are concerned about the possibility of Lyme disease.

The table below shows commonly reported symptoms of COVID 19 and Lyme disease. ‘Yes’ means fairly common but not in everyone.

Check for rashes an erythema migrans is the rash associated with Lyme disease. The rash does not occur in every case of Lyme disease but if a patient does present with an EM rash then no blood test is required and treatment should be prescribed immediately. 

– If you find a rash, take a photo of it to show your GP

If you find a tick attached to your skin, remove it carefully using one of the correct techniques

Lyme disease is a bacterial infection and early treatment with antibiotics is recommended to avoid long term symptoms. You can refer your GP to the Royal College of General Practitioners Lyme Disease Toolkit for current advice on dosages and treatment guidelines.

For further information read the LDUK guide to tick bites and acute Lyme disease.