Lyme Disease Home > First Symptoms of Lyme Disease

The Lyme disease rash that is characteristic of this disease is known as erythema migrans, or EM. Approximately 70-80 percent of infected people develop this rash, which is known for its bullseye appearance. Besides the Lyme disease rash, the first symptoms of Lyme disease can also include fever, headache, and swollen lymph nodes.

The First Sign or Symptom of Lyme Disease: The Lyme Disease Rash

The first sign of infection with Lyme disease is usually the Lyme disease rash. This is typically a circular rash called erythema migrans, or EM. This rash occurs in approximately 70-80 percent of people infected with Lyme disease, and begins at the site of a tick bite after a delay of 3-30 days. A distinctive feature of the Lyme disease rash is that it gradually expands over a period of several days, reaching up to 12 inches (30 cm) across.
The center of the rash may clear as it enlarges, resulting in a bullseye appearance. It may be warm, but it is not usually painful. Some patients develop additional Lyme disease rashes in other areas of the body after several days.

Other Early Lyme Disease Symptoms

Patients can also experience other early symptoms of Lyme disease, including:
  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Swollen lymph nodes.
In some cases, these may be the only symptoms of infection.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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