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Lyme disease is caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, which is carried by infected ticks. This disorder has a variable clinical course with multisystem manifestations, including dermatologic, neurologic, cardiac, and rheumatologic abnormalities. Although
Lyme disease has been commonly associated with stages, the utility of staging may be limited due to the inconsistency of clinical manifestations among patients. Furthermore, stages may overlap as a result of the acute and chronic phases of the
disease. The laboratory characteristics of
Lyme disease are highly variable. The use of microbiologic cultures in establishing the diagnosis requires several weeks and has a low yield of positivity. Serologic assays using indirect immunofluorescence and enzyme-linked immunosorbence are preferred. Because of the highly variable features of
Lyme disease, clinical and laboratory features must be correlated and interpreted in the context of the
disease. Treatment should be initiated as early as possible after the onset of illness. Prompt therapeutic intervention may result in early resolution of the dermatologic hallmark, erythema chronicum migrans, as well as prevention and attenuation of subsequent complications.