Lyme Disease: This is No Tangy Fruit
9 minutes to read | Updated for 2019
What’s In This Guide
Lyme disease is a treatable, yet dangerous, infection that usually causes flu-like symptoms. It is caused by the bacteria classified as Borrelia burgdorferi.
The overwhelming majority of cases are caused by the extended bite of the blacklegged tick, also known as the deer tick, or the bear tick.
Lyme disease spreads as ticks carrying Borrelia burgdorferi travel. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noted that most cases of Lyme disease occur in the Northeast, where blacklegged ticks are most prevalent. However, a higher instance of cases have been reported in Florida and far north as Canada, where the this tick has spread. Between 1995 and 2015, the total number of Lyme disease cases has doubled.
The CDC also estimates that there are around 11 times more cases of Lyme disease than the 30,000 actually reported to the organization. These infections overwhelmingly occur in people under the age of 15 and in people between the ages of 40 to 60. The reason these populations are more likely to catch Lyme disease is singular: They are the age groups most likely to be outside in areas where the blacklegged tick resides.
Although the blacklegged tick is responsible for the vast majority of reported Lyme disease cases, not all of them can transmit Lyme disease. Also, many types of tick that look like the blacklegged tick on the surface do not transmit the disease. This includes the brown dog tick, the Rocky Mountain wood tick, and the American dog tick. To be diagnosed with Lyme disease, you should consult a doctor who is familiar with the symptoms of the condition.