Lyme disease may be hard to diagnose because its symptoms are like those of many other illnesses. Your doctor will take a careful medical history and do a physical examination to help diagnose early Lyme disease. You may be asked whether you have recently visited an area where you may have been exposed to ticks. The doctor will ask about your symptoms and look for physical signs that may indicate Lyme disease. The clearest physical sign is an expanding, circular red rash (called erythema migrans). See a picture of a Lyme disease rash.
The often vague, flu-like symptoms of Lyme disease can easily be misdiagnosed as another illness(such as chronic fatigue syndrome).
How to diagnose Lyme disease ?
Lyme disease mimics many different diseases. The EM lesion may be confused with streptococcal cellulitis, erythema multiforme (the latter lesions tend to be smaller, urticarial, or vesicular and may occur on mucosal surfaces), and erythema marginatum (these lesions are smaller and migrate rapidly in minutes to hours). Lyme arthritis can be distinguished from other rheumatoid diseases, such as acute rheumatic fever, based on the EM lesion and the brief episode of synovitis. The chronic form of Lyme arthritis may resemble pauciarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, Reiter’s syndrome, and reactive arthritis caused by members of the Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, and Yersinia genera. This form of arthritis may also be associated with rubella, hepatitis B, or echoviruses. The aseptic meningitis in Lyme disease may resemble enteroviral, leptospiral, or early tuberculous meningitis. It is important to consider sarcoidosis, Behรงet’s disease, and multiple sclerosis when the disease becomes chronic.