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Lyme Disease - Cause

Lyme disease is caused by Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. Infected ticks spread the bacteria by biting people or animals.

Two types of ticks carry the Lyme disease bacteria in the U.S. They are:

  • Deer ticks camera.gif. They spread the disease in the Northeast and Midwest.
  • Western black-legged ticks camera.gif. They spread the disease along the Pacific coast, mostly in northern California and Oregon.

Dogs, cats, and horses can become infected with Lyme disease bacteria, but they can't pass the illness to humans. But infected ticks may fall off the animals and then bite and infect humans.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: August 21, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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