Treatment

Antibiotics usually provide a complete recovery if given early enough. Most children who are treated in later stages of the disease also respond well. Unfortunately, cases that are not diagnosed soon enough may resist antibiotic treatment. In a few children, symptoms of persistent infection may continue, or the disease may recur, so that doctors prescribe repeated long courses of antibiotics. The value of this approach remains controversial.

Children with chronic Lyme disease may exhibit varying degrees of permanent damage to joints or the nervous system. This usually occurs among children who were not diagnosed in the early stages of the disease, or for whom early treatment was not successful. Deaths from Lyme disease have been reported only rarely.

However, experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention do not recommend automatic treatment with antibiotics after every tick bite. Instead, they say it is better to avoid ticks in the first place.

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