How Common Is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is the infection caused by the bacteria and the bacteria is spread by the ticks. The host or the reservoirs of the bacteria is mice and deer. Thus, when the ticks feed on these reservoirs, the bacteria is transmitted to the ticks and keep staying in the midgut region. As soon as the tick again feed on the blood of humans, the bacteria starts replicating and enters in the blood stream of human. The symptoms of Lyme disease may includes rashes, fever, joint pain and headache. Various preventive and treatment measures are advised by the healthcare professional for the management of this disease.

How Common Is Lyme Disease?

Caused by the bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, a spirochete, Lyme disease is one of the most common vector-borne disease. The carrier of this bacteria are the deer ticks, which transmits the bacteria when bites human or animals. When the ticks feed on the infected deer or the mice, the bacteria stick to their midgut. When the ticks feed on humans, the bacteria replicates and move in to the ticks’ salivary glands and then transferred to human. In the United States of America, the ticks responsible for the disease are Ixodes scapularis, while in Europe the tick responsible is Ixodes ricinus.

In North America, the disease is spread to humans by Borrelia burgdorferi and Borrelia mayonii. In Asia, the causative agent is Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii. Lyme disease is one of the most common diseases caused by the ticks. Various factors are responsible for the fact that why some regions have more prevalence of Lyme disease as compared to other region. The prevalence of the disease also depends upon the weather. In spring and early summer, people are more prone to contract Lyme disease. According to estimation, 30000 people reportedly get infected by the disease; however, number seems to be much larger as there are many unreported cases. According to an estimate, the total number of reported and unreported cases may be summed up to 300,000. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that this is the tremendous public health problem and should require urgent need for prevention.

In US, the people are infected with Lyme disease in every state, but the most effective area is Northeast and upper Midwest from where almost 96% of the total cases are reported. The factors responsible for making some areas more prone to infection includes bird migration, mobility of deer and other carriers, and people travel round the world carrying their pets. Further the migration of infected people to other countries also has increased the risk of transfer of the disease. Lyme disease is rare in India, but certain cases of Lyme disease have been recently emerged indicating that the disease also exists is India.

Preventive Measures

As Lyme disease is a very common disease in some parts of United States, the best approach to avoid this disease are the preventive measures. Following are the preventive measures that can be adopted to stay away from the disease:

  • The ticks are dark in color. So, wearing light color clothes will help in viewing the tick.
  • In areas of high incidence, no chance should be given to the ticks to come in contact with the body. If possible, the pants should be tucked under the socks so as to stop the entry of the tick.
  • Insect repellent may also be used.
  • Ticks flourish in the areas with humidity. Thus, keep yourself in sunny and dry areas.
  • Avoid the areas where the ticks live such as woody and bushy areas.


Lyme disease is the most common vector borne disease in United States of America. The reported cases are very less as compared to the unreported cases. Further, most of the infection is reported from areas which are optimum for ticks. This disease is rare in India, but recently few cases are also reported in India.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:October 9, 2018

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