Lyme Disease Rashes

The Distinctive Rash

a skin rash that has a bull's eye appearance: MDH

The most common early sign of Lyme disease is an expanding skin rash called "erythema migrans." It begins as a reddened area near the tick bite. As the rash increases in size, it often clears in the middle and develops a red ring around the outside, so that it has a “bull's eye” appearance.  It does not always look like a bull's eye, but it does expand in size. This rash:

  • May expand to a very large size.
  • Is usually not painful or itchy.
  • Often appears on the thighs, groin, trunk and armpit.
  • The rash has been reported in about 60 to 80 percent of Lyme disease cases.
  • Not everyone with Lyme disease gets the rash.
  • Sometimes the rash does not have a bull's eye appearance. It may appear as a reddened area without an outer ring.
  • The Lyme disease rash is not transmitted from person to person.

The early signs and symptoms of Lyme disease (fever, chills, headache, muscle/joint pain and fatigue) are similar to other ailments. Therefore, it may be difficult to diagnose Lyme disease if a person does not have the rash.

Multiple Rashes

multiple rashes occur as a reaction when the bacteria moves through the body: MDH

A person may experience multiple rashes, such as those you see here.  The rash is not caused from multiple tick bites, but occurs as a reaction when the bacteria moves through the body.

Updated Friday, 14-Jan-2011 12:12:02 CST