The overall risk of infection with Lyme disease after a recognized deer tick bite in our area is 1-3%.  The risk is extremely low after a brief attachment of less than 18 hours (flat, non-engorged tick) and gets higher after 36 hours of attachment.

After reviewing the recent recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, it was determined that analysis of a tick for Lyme disease is not helpful.  During the early stages of Lyme disease (first four weeks of infection), diagnosis is best made clinically by recognizing the rash around the site of a recent tick bite.

Other symptoms such as fever, fatigue, headache, mild neck stiffness, joint pain and muscle pain may accompany the rash.  During this phase, blood tests are insensitive and are not routinely recommended.  Preventive antibiotics after a deer tick bite are also not routinely recommended for children under 8 years.  Over 8 years of age, prophylactic treatment may be considered if it has been within 72 hours of tick removal and other criteria have been met.  Appointments are required for any consideration of such treatment.

Please talk to your doctor if you have any additional questions.

Tick Chart

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pdf version.