Lyme Disease Home > Lyme Disease Rash

The characteristic rash seen with Lyme disease is known as erythema migrans, or EM. Approximately 70 to 80 percent of infected people develop this rash, which is known for its bullseye appearance. In addition to the rash, other symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, and muscle aches.

What Is the Lyme Disease Rash?

In most cases, the first sign of infection with the bacterium that causes Lyme disease is a rash. This is usually a circular rash called erythema migrans, or EM. This "Lyme disease rash" occurs in approximately 70 to 80 percent of infected people, and begins at the site of a tick bite after a delay of 3 to 30 days. A distinctive feature of the 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 is not usually painful. Some people develop additional Lyme disease rashes in other areas of the body after several days.
 
Other early symptoms of Lyme disease include:
 
  • 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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