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Where in the U.S. are you most likely to get Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease cases are on the rise in the United States. While the nature of Lyme disease symptoms makes it difficult to know exactly how many people get Lyme disease each year, the CDC reported that there were 23,453 cases in 2019. Lyme disease frequency maps show a shocking concentration of cases in the Northeast. This infographic by the research team can help to spread awareness by highlighting the counties with the most Lyme disease cases recently and over time.


What Is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness that is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme disease is transmitted to humans through the bite of ticks that are infected with this bacteria. The chances of getting Lyme disease from a tick bite range from zero to 50 percent, depending on three key factors: the species of tick, where the tick came from, and how long it was attached. Lyme disease can also be transmitted through ticks to other mammals. Animals that can get Lyme disease include dogs, horses, cattle, white-tailed deer, mice, chipmunks, squirrels, and raccoons. Dogs that hike, spend time in the yard, or even just walk around the neighborhood can pick up disease-carrying ticks, which is why it is important to take preventative measures to protect our loyal companions. The American Veterinary Medical Association provides a comprehensive guide on how to prevent Lyme disease in dogs.

What Are the Symptoms of Lyme Disease in Humans?

The early symptoms of Lyme disease that occur within three to 30 days after a tick bite are:

  • Fever, headache, chills, muscle and joint aches, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes
  • Erythema migrans (EM) rash, which occurs in 70 to 80 percent of infected persons; it sometimes has a bull’s-eye appearance but can vary greatly in how it manifests

Later symptoms of Lyme disease that may occur days to months after the tick bite are:

  • Neck stiffness and severe headaches
  • Additional EM rashes around the body
  • Facial palsy
  • Arthritis with intense joint pain and swelling, particularly in large joints like the knees
  • Heart palpitations or irregular heartbeat
  • Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
  • Nerve pain

Where Is Lyme Disease Most Common in the U.S.?

A key step to preventing Lyme disease is to know if you are in a location that requires extra vigilance due to large tick populations. The states with the most Lyme disease cases include Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maine, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Maryland, Connecticut, Virginia, and Vermont. While statewide data is helpful, knowing the counties with the most Lyme disease cases can promote awareness, caution, and prevention. Here are the top ten counties with the most Lyme disease cases in 2019:

  1. Chester County, Pennsylvania: 470 cases
  2. Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania: 435 cases
  3. Morris County, New Jersey: 425 cases
  4. Hillsborough County, New Hampshire: 419 cases
  5. Rockingham County, New Hampshire: 415 cases
  6. Butler County, Pennsylvania: 377 cases
  7. Monmouth County, New Jersey: 368 cases
  8. Montgomery County, Pennsylvania: 363 cases
  9. Bucks County, Pennsylvania: 363 cases
  10. Cumberland County, Maine: 354 cases

Related: Tick Borne Diseases, Nursing CEU Courses.

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