The first symptoms of Lyme disease (erythema migrans) are standardly treated with antibiotics administered for 14-21 days. However, several european as well as american research articles describe that administration of a small dose of antibiotics immediately after the tick removal will certainly prevent the development of the disease.
This approach is much more gentle to the patient's health, and can undoubtedly spare savings in the costs of healt insurance companies, which is a current topic in the Czech Republic. According to an Israeli study, a four-day administration of doxycycline started immediately after an infected tick bite has an almost 100% chance of preventing the development of borreliosis. Resurgence of later symptoms was not observed in any of the volunteers participating in the study. Another study, published in the prestigeous journal "The New England Journal of Medicine", has shown that a single dose of doxycycline (200mg) taken within 72 hours from the tick bite provides sufficient protection against later manifestation of the disease. However, the exact time of the tick-bite is usually not .known and thus a higher preventative antibiotic dose is used. More information can be found in this review.
These new findings reveal the importance of tick infectivity testing. If the result is negative, the disease development can be ruled out. A positive result indicates the possibility of disease transmission and facilitates early diagnosis and treatment initiation. Early diagnosis is crucial for the succesful treatment of this insidious disease. For those interested we refer to the original publication.