Can Lyme disease remain asymptomatic for about 20 years?

Q. Is curling of fingers at joints with fibromyalgia a sign of Lyme disease?

Answered by
Dr. Rajiv Ranjan Kumar
and medically reviewed by Dr. Vinodhini. J
This is a premium question & answer published on Aug 19, 2020 and last reviewed on: Jul 20, 2023

Hello doctor,

Can you have Lyme disease for 20 years and not know until now? I am diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 2001. The same year, I went camping and came home with a tick. Tick was found and removed by a physical therapist. I feel all symptoms of Lyme disease. My fingers are curling at the first joint, a sign of extreme arthritis along with muscle pain that I have had for 20 years. I tried OTC medicine for fibromyalgia Lyrica. My depression is increased and I am more confused. There is a special test C6-peptide to confirm. Should I ask my GP to have the test done?



Welcome to

Lyme disease is generally divided into three phases: early localized, early disseminated, and late phase. Late Lyme disease occurs months to a few years after the onset of infection and may not be preceded by a history of early localized or disseminated Lyme disease. Arthritis, myalgia, and neurological features are usually seen in the late phase. Serologic testing has traditionally been performed using an initial enzyme-linked immunosorbent immunoassay (ELISA) or immunofluorescence assay, followed by a Western blot. VlsE C6 ELISAs may be a more appropriate test for detecting all species of Borrelia burgdorferi. I think you can discuss your GP or visit a rheumatologist for further discussion and also to have an opinion related to your past exposure to ticks. I hope this helps.

Thank you.

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