Chronic Lyme arthritis is a recurring form of joint
inflammation caused by Lyme disease, a bacterial infection that is spread
through tick bites. Symptoms of chronic Lyme arthritis include episodes of
swelling, redness, and fluid buildup in one or more joints that last up to 6
months at a time.
When a person is not treated for Lyme disease,
chronic Lyme arthritis can develop. Some experts believe chronic Lyme arthritis
is caused by an exaggerated response of the body's immune system.
Chronic Lyme arthritis usually responds to antibiotic treatment. But
joints that have been badly damaged by Lyme arthritis may take a long time to
get better after the bacteria have been killed. Sometimes antibiotic treatment
does not help the joints at all.
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Christine Hahn, MD - Epidemiology