Lyme Disease vs. Lime Disease

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Lyme disease and lime disease are two ailments that are pronounced in the same way and almost spelled in the same way, but describe two different diseases. We’ll look at the difference between Lyme disease and lime disease, the origins of these terms, and some examples of their use in sentences.

Lyme disease is a chronic, debilitating disease that if left untreated has serious consequences. In a victim, the disease is transmitted in a tick bite that transfers the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Early symptoms include a bullseye-shaped rash, fever, chills, nausea, joint aches and general flu-like symptoms. If not treated, Lyme disease causes chronic fatigue, cognitive problems, neuropathy, depression and eventually, death. The disease was diagnosed in the mid-1970s in Lyme, Connecticut in the United States, though researchers did not know the cause of Lyme disease. In 1982 Willy Burgdorfer discovered that the cause of Lyme disease was a bite from a deer tick that harbored the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Note that the word Lyme in Lyme disease is capitalized, as it refers to the name of a town.

Lime disease is an ailment caused by the reaction of lime juice on the skin when exposed to the sun. Lime disease is also called margarita disease, alluding to the fact that alcoholic drinks known as margaritas contain lime juice. The scientific name for lime disease is phytophotodermatitis. A lime disease rash generally look like dripping paint.


Although the most common symptoms are fever, headache, fatigue and a rash, Lyme disease can become much more serious if it’s not treated with antibiotics. (Forbes Magazine)

For at least five years, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has officially stated that 10 to 20 percent of patients treated for Lyme disease — some 30,000 to 60,000 of 300,000 infected yearly — “will have lingering symptoms of fatigue, pain, or joint and muscle aches,” even after supposedly curative antibiotic treatment. (The Huffington Post)

“In a sense, it’s a different type of ‘lime disease,’ in that phytophotodermatitis is often misdiagnosed; it’s that rare,” he says. (The Atlantic Magazine)