Who Gets Lyme Disease And At What Time Of Year
Lyme disease is transmitted via the bite of infected ticks, which attach to any part of the body, but often to moist or hairy areas such as the groin, armpits, and scalp.
While everyone is susceptible to tick bites, campers, hikers, and people who work in gardens and other leafy outdoor venues are at the greatest risk of tick bites. As many a suburban gardener can attest, with the expansion of the suburbs and a push to conserve wooded areas, deer and mice populations are thriving, too, providing ample blood meals for ticks. For lyme disease to be transmitted, a tick needs to feed on the host for 24-48 hours.
In the majority of cases, tick bites are reported in the summer months when ticks are most active and people spend more time outdoors. But this can extend into the warmer months of early autumn, too, or even late winter if temperatures are unusually high. Similarly, a mild winter can allow ticks, much like other insects, to thrive and emerge earlier than usual.
Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
A circular or oval shape rash around a tick bite can be an early symptom of Lyme disease in some people.
The rash can appear up to 3 months after being bitten by an infected tick, but usually appears within 1 to 4 weeks. It can last for several weeks.
The rash can have a darker or lighter area in the centre and might gradually spread. It’s not usually hot or itchy.
The rash may be flat, or slightly raised, and look pink, red, or purple when it appears on white skin. It can be harder to see the rash on brown and black skin and it may look like a bruise.
Some people also get flu-like symptoms a few days or weeks after they were bitten by an infected tick, such as:
- a high temperature, or feeling hot and shivery
- tiredness and loss of energy
Some people with Lyme disease develop more severe symptoms months or years later.
This is more likely if treatment is delayed.
These more severe symptoms may include:
- pain and swelling in joints
- nerve problems such as pain or numbness
- heart problems
- trouble with memory or concentration
Other Ticks Other Diseases
Although it shares many symptoms with Lyme disease, the Powassan virus differs in that there is no treatment currently available for it. According to Dr. Theodore Andreadis, of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, the virus can be fatal in some cases.
Powassan virus can also be transmitted much quicker than Lyme disease. These ticks will transmit this virus when they feed within a matter of hours, whereas with Lyme disease, for example, ticks generally have to feed up to 2 days before theyre capable of transmitting it, Dr. Andreadis told CBS New York.
Dr. Andreadis also stated that there have yet to be any reported human cases of the virus in this region, but people should be more careful than ever when venturing into woodland environments that could be home to ticks carrying these pathogens.
Lyme disease and Powassan virus are not the only conditions that can be spread by the blacklegged tick. Other diseases transmitted by this species include anaplasmosis and babesiosis.
Of course, blacklegged ticks are not the only species of tick known to spread disease to humans. Across the US, for instance, a number of different species can be found that carry a variety of different pathogens potentially dangerous to humans.
Another tick to look out for is the Rocky Mountain wood tick, found in the Rocky Mountain states at elevations of 4,000 to 10,500 feet. These creatures can carry pathogens that cause Colorado tick fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia.
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How Do You Get Lyme Disease
The bacterial infection is transmitted by ticks, but not every tick bite will make you sick.
Now that winter has transitioned to spring and temperatures are warming up in much of the country, youre likely to start hearing a lot about Lyme disease. Rates of this tick-borne illness have been rising steadily in the United States over the last two decades, with most infections happening in April through October.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , approximately 30,000 cases of Lyme disease are reported each year. But that number only includes cases that are diagnosed and confirmed by doctors, and recent estimates suggest that more like 300,000 people might actually get sick from Lyme disease each year.
There is also a lot of misinformation out there about Lyme diseaseincluding how people actually get it in the first place. Health spoke with Daniel Kuritzkes, MD, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston, about what to watch out for and how to protect yourself.
What Are The Roles Of Other Animals In Lyme Disease Transmission
|Deer are not directly involved with Lyme disease transmission. However, they are the preferred host of the adult blacklegged tick and are therefore important in maintaining tick populations.|
|Dogs are susceptible to tick bites and tickborne diseases like Lyme disease. Lyme disease infections in dogs are not a significant risk factor for human infection because dogs are considered “dead-end” hosts for the bacteria . However, dogs can bring infected ticks into the home.|
|Rodents, especially deer mice and white-footed mice are important hosts for Lyme disease pathogens. Juvenile ticks become infected with Lyme disease bacteria when they feed on infected mice. The ticks may then pass the infection on to future hosts, including humans and pets.|
|Ticks, specifically the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis, acquire Lyme disease bacteria from rodents.|
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The Chance Of Getting Lyme Disease
Not all ticks in England carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
But it’s still important to be aware of ticks and to safely remove them as soon as possible, just in case.
Ticks that may cause Lyme disease are found all over the UK, but high-risk places include grassy and wooded areas in southern and northern England and the Scottish Highlands.
Ticks are tiny spider-like creatures that live in woods, areas with long grass, and sometimes in urban parks and gardens. They’re found all over the UK.
Ticks do not jump or fly. They attach to the skin of animals or humans that brush past them.
Once a tick bites into the skin, it feeds on blood for a few days before dropping off.
How Does A Person Get Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is transmitted by the bite of an infected deer tick, which also is known as the black-legged tick. Immature deer ticks can be very small, about the size of the head of a pin adult deer ticks are slightly larger. Both can be infected with and transmit Lyme disease. Deer ticks acquire the bacteria by feeding primarily on small mammals infected with the bacteria, particularly the white-footed mouse. Deer ticks infected with the bacteria that cause Lyme disease have been found in Illinois. Areas in the United States where deer ticks are most frequently infected with Lyme disease are the northeastern United States , northern California, and north central states, especially Minnesota and Wisconsin. However, Lyme disease has been reported in almost all states in the United States as well as in many countries throughout the world.
Image source: /content/dam/soi/en/web/idph/files/pictures/babesiosis.jpg
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How To Avoid Tick Bites
To reduce the chance of being bitten:
- cover your skin while walking outdoors and tuck your trousers into your socks
- use insect repellent on your clothes and skin products containing DEET are best
- stay on clear paths whenever possible
- wear light-coloured clothing so ticks are easier to see and brush off
History Of Lyme Disease
A team of researchers from the Yale School of Public Health has reported that âthe Lyme disease bacterium is ancient in North America, circulating silently in forests for at least 60,000 yearsâlong before the disease was first described in Lyme, Connecticut, in 1976,â and long before the arrival of Europeans in the U.S. In a biblical timeline, this might correspond to a time shortly after Noahâs worldwide flood . This is long before the disease was first described in Lyme, Connecticut, in 1976 by Allen Steere, M.D. This early diversity suggests that the recent epidemic of human Lyme disease has been fueled not by adaptive changes in the bacteria but by ecological changeâdriven by ecosystem disruption from human activity, such as increased deforestation and hunting, and by changes in weather âwhich has influenced the movement of Lyme-hosting birds and mammals .
Figure 2. Photograph of erythema migrans on the epidermis, also known as bullâs eye rash. This may be characterized as an expansive skin rash that is indicative of the early signs of Lyme disease. The rash can spread up to 12 inches in diameter and is caused by the gradual radial movement of Borrelia burgdorferi, as the bacteria move outwardly from the site of the tick bite. File: Bullseye rash linked to Lyme disease from Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved 21:14, June 19, 2021, from .
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Can You Get Lyme Disease From Other People Or Animals
Theres no evidence that Lyme disease can be transmitted sexually or by touching or kissing a person who has it, says Dr. Kuritzkes. One widely reported study from 2014 found that the bacterium that transmits Lyme disease could be present in semen and vaginal secretions, which sparked fears that the disease could be passed between sexual partners. But theres never been a reported case of sexual transmission, says Dr. Kuritzkes, and most experts dont believe you can catch Lyme disease in this way.
In rare cases, Lyme disease has been transmitted from a pregnant woman to her fetus or placenta. Fortunately, according to the CDC, treating an infected woman with antibiotics seems to protect the fetus from any negative effects. Theres also no evidence that Lyme disease can be passed through breastfeeding.
And while there have been no reports of Lyme disease being transmitted through a blood transfusion, scientists say it could potentially happenso people who are being treated for Lyme disease should not donate blood.
Dogs are less likely to be bitten by deer and western blacklegged ticks, although it does happenso its still important to check your pets after time spent outdoors and to remove any ticks you find. You can also talk to your veterinarian about preventive treatments that can reduce the risk of your pets being bitten by ticks or about a vaccine that can protect dogs from the disease.
You Can Protect Yourself Against Ticks
Know where the critters camp out. Ticks often reside on the foliage that borders meadows. Deer like to graze in the open grassy areas, says Dr. Krause, but also linger in the surrounding wooded outskirts so they can run away if a predator suddenly appears. As for the ticks? Theyre just following the deer. When youre in tick territory, tuck your jeans into your boots or socks, slap on an insecticide , or wear clothing thats been treated with permethrin, an insect repellant. The CDC recommends people use an insect repellant that contains at least 20% DEET. You can treat your clothing with a product like Cutters Backwoods Insect Repellent Pump or find insect-repellent clothing from manufacturers like LL Bean or Rei.
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Lyme Disease Is On The Rise An Expert Explains Why
May marks the beginning of the summer season when black-legged ticks that spread Lyme disease are more prevalent even in California.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that cases of tickborne diseases had more than doubled from 2004 to 2016, from 22,000 to 48,000, and that Lyme disease accounted for 82 percent of tickborne diseases.
Moreover, due to underreporting, the actual number of Lyme disease cases is estimated to be significantly higher likely more than 350,000 in 2016.
We talked to infectious disease expert Charles Chiu, MD, PhD, about the rise in Lyme disease cases, better diagnostic tests on the horizon and what you need to know to protect yourself from infection. Chiu is an associate professor of laboratory medicine and medicine and director of the UCSF-Abbott Viral Diagnostics and Discovery Center.How common is Lyme disease in California? And why have rates been increasing?
In terms of reported cases, there are about 80 to 100 a year in the state. Residents in or travelers to the northwestern coastal counties Trinity, Humboldt, and Mendocino are at highest risk. But because of underreporting, the actual number of Lyme disease cases likely exceeds 1,000 cases a year, simply because most cases of Lyme disease are not reported.
How is Lyme disease transmitted, and is it contagious between humans?
Compared to other infections, is Lyme disease more difficult to detect and diagnose?
Ongoing Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
A few people who are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease continue to have symptoms, like tiredness, aches and loss of energy, that can last for years.
It’s not clear why this happens to some people and not others. This means there’s also no agreed treatment.
Speak to a doctor if your symptoms come back, or do not improve, after treatment with antibiotics.
The doctor may be able to offer you further support if needed, such as:
- referral for a care needs assessment
- telling your employer, school or higher education institution that you require a gradual return to activities
- communicating with children and families’ social care
Page last reviewed: 05 July 2021 Next review due: 05 July 2024
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How Should A Tick Be Removed
Grasp the mouthparts with tweezers as close as possible to the attachment site. Be careful not to squeeze, crush or puncture the body of the tick, which may contain infectious fluids. Pull firmly and steadily upward to remove the tick. After removing the tick, thoroughly disinfect the bite site and wash hands. The NYSDOH has created a video on proper tick removal and a printable card with steps on how to remove ticks . See or call a doctor if there are concerns about incomplete tick removal. Do not attempt to remove ticks by using petroleum jelly, lit cigarettes or other home remedies because these may actually increase the chance of contracting a tick-borne disease.
What You Need To Know About Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is an infection caused by the spiral-shaped bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, which is most commonly transmitted by a tick bite.
There are over 300,000 estimated new cases of Lyme disease in the United States each year.
The symptoms of Lyme disease depend on the how long the infection has been present in the body. The first sign of Lyme disease is often an expanding round or oval red “bullseye” rash.
If left untreated, people may develop neurological symptoms and heart problems, and have an approximately 60 percent chance of developing Lyme arthritis.
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What Can A Workplace Or Home Do To Reduce The Presence Of Ticks
Keep the lawn and yard well maintained to prevent ticks from living near the home or workplace.
- Keep the grass mowed. Trim trees and shrubs.
- Remove leaf litter, brush, and weeds at the edge of the lawn, and around stonewalls and woodpiles.
- Clean up and seal stonewalls and small openings around the home to help discourage rodents.
- Keep stacked firewood piles and bird feeders away from buildings.
- Keep any pets, particularly dogs, out of the woods and talk to your veterinarian about tick repellents for your pets.
- Move children’s swing sets and sandboxes away from the woodland’s edge and use a woodchip or mulch foundation.
- Consider using hard landscape items such as woodchips, mulch, stones, gravel, tile, or metals.
- Create a border or barrier between the lawn, woods, or stonewalls to discourage deer and rodent activity.
- Widen woodland trails.
What Are The Symptoms Of Lyme Disease
The list of possible symptoms is long, and symptoms can affect every part of the body. The following are the most common symptoms of Lyme disease. But symptoms are slightly different for each person.
The primary symptom is a red rash that:
Can appear several days after infection, or not at all
Can last up to several weeks
Can be very small or grow very large , and may resemble a “bulls-eye”
Can mimic such skin problems as hives, eczema, sunburn, poison ivy, and flea bites
Can itch or feel hot, or may not be felt at all
Can disappear and return several weeks later
Several days or weeks after a bite from an infected tick, you may have flu-like symptoms such as the following:
Weeks to months after the bite, the following symptoms may develop:
Neurological symptoms, including inflammation of the nervous system and weakness and paralysis of the facial muscles
Heart problems, including inflammation of the heart and problems with heart rate
Eye problems, including inflammation
Months to a few years after a bite, the following symptoms may include:
Inflammation of the joints
Neurological symptoms including numbness in the extremities, tingling and pain, and difficulties with speech, memory, and concentration
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