Lyme Disease: What To Know This Season
Lyme disease cases are expected to continue to increase in the U.S., as the ticks that spread it continue to show up in new areas, experts say.
“I think we’ll just keep seeing more and more,” says John Aucott, MD, director of the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Clinical Research Center.
Although most cases are still reported in the Northeast, the black-legged tick -- also known as the deer or bear tick -- has been found as far south as Florida and as far north as Canada, data from the CDC show.
It’s impossible to forecast how bad this tick season, from about spring to winter, will be, experts say. But cases have been trending upward, more than doubling nationwide between 1995 and 2015.
For most people, the disease causes flu-like symptoms. About 80% of people who get it fully recover by taking antibiotics, the CDC says.
Here’s more about the disease and what to expect this year and beyond.
What is Lyme disease?
Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, that’s transmitted to humans through a bite from an infected black-legged or deer tick. Symptoms can occur anywhere from 3 to 30 days after the bite, and symptoms can be wide-ranging, depending on the stage of the infection.
The chances you might get Lyme disease from a tick bite depend on the kind of tick, where you were when the bite occurred, and how long the tick was attached to you, according to the CDC. Black-legged ticks must be attached to you for at least 24 hours to transmit Lyme disease.