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Upstate Lyme disease doctor: Early treatment crucial, but diagnosis can be tricky

Lyme disease is treatable when caught early, and most patients recover fully, said Dr. Kristopher Paolino, an infectious disease expert at Upstate Medical University.

“The thing with Lyme disease is, the earlier you catch it, the earlier you treat it, the better the outcomes,” Paolino said today. “There is concern that Lyme disease is a forever illness, and for the majority of people that’s not the case.”

Paolino spoke with NYUP.com during a Facebook Live discussion, answering questions about the spread of the disease, its symptoms and treatment, and the difficulty in diagnosing it.

If Lyme is caught in its early stages, a 10- to 21-day course of antibiotics are usually enough to kill the bacteria that causes Lyme. Left untreated, the bacteria can wreak havoc on the body, causing anything from painful joints to dangerous heart conditions. Even among those who are treated, 10 to 20 percent can suffer long-term problems, he said.

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