Lyme Disease is the #1 vector-borne disease in America, and deer ticks, who are responsible for most tick-borne disease and Lyme cases, are quickly expanding reach across the US. In fact, Hawaii is the only state without a reported case of Lyme Disease.
Did you know?
Ticks infect 6x more people with diseases than mosquitos.
Not to cause panic, but the data on these deadly diseases show year over year increases; it’s important to be aware and know that ticks are no longer restricted within the northeast.
I was hospitalized over the summer of 2019 with Lyme Carditis – this is when Lyme disease bacteria enters the tissue of the heart and affects electrical signals. My symptoms began with a 103 fever and extreme exhaustion. 6 days later, and after two med-clinic visits who said it was a viral infection, the bullseye rash appeared. Thankfully, the IV antibiotics started working within 2 days and I’m feeling much better.
Since then, I made an effort to do research and spread awareness of tick-borne diseases and how to get rid of ticks. The CDC puts out great guides on tick-borne diseases, typically as a yearly PDF. However, I felt they often didn’t accurately portray the year over year growth of tick-borne diseases in each state. Using confirmed and probable case data, I created a graph representing the 6 most prominent diseases over the last 9 years. As you can see, all of them are drastically increasing, with Lyme remaining the most prominent. But Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Anaplasmosis are an increasing problem, growing 244% and 396% respectively between 2009 – 2017.
The Risk of Lyme Disease
Over the same 9 year period of data, I averaged the cases and incident rates to determine which states saw the most reported cases of Lyme Disease. Pennsylvania had the most Lyme Disease cases by a large margin. However, this is also a much larger state with a lot more people. When looking at incidence rates (cases per 100,000 people), the findings show that you are much more likely to get Lyme Disease in Vermont and Maine.
Remember: the best protection is prevention. Use tick prevention on your dogs, spray DEET on your skin or Permethrin on clothing, and always perform tick checks when coming inside!