Lyme Disease

a close up photograph of the Amblyomma maculatum tick standing on a bright green leafLyme disease and other tickborne diseases increasingly pose a threat to public health. Lyme disease is the most common tickborne disease in the United States, with over 30,000 cases reported a year. However, it is estimated that approximately 300,000 people may get Lyme disease each year in the United States. Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi which is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick or western blacklegged tick. If left untreated, this disease can cause lifelong health problems. This disease is preventable through prevention of tick bites. EH professionals play a significant role in the reduction of tickborne disease as they are often contacted by the public and healthcare providers to investigate complaints. Integrated pest management is the main method used to protect the public from pest and tickborne diseases. State and local health departments monitor vital information about spread of illnesses through surveillance of the incidence and prevalence of Lyme disease. 

Vectors & Pests Webinars

Latest Webinar: Integrated Tick Management Webinar

NEHA and the Northeast Regional Center for Excellence in Vector-Borne Disease were pleased to host the Integrated Tick Management: Strategies and Barriers to the Prevention of Tick-Borne Disease Webinar. 

VIEW Vector & Pests WebinaRS

Ten Tips and Resources for EH Professionals

  1. Order informational materials related to Lyme Disease to educate your health district here.
  2. Access CDC’s Lyme disease surveillance data including recent and historical records.
  3. Spread helpful tips on tick prevention strategies when outdoors.
  4. Read about the Lyme disease vaccine: past, present, and future.
  5. Check out NEHA's vector map and CDC's tick surveillance guide to gain knowledge on vector species that may impact your area.
  6. Train your community on the proper method of tick removal.
  7. Educate on the testing and diagnostics for Lyme disease.
  8. Spread awareness about the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease.
  9. Be prepared with FAQs about Lyme disease.
  10. Learn about CDC's efforts on the front lines of tick repellent.

New species of Lyme Disease-causing bacteria discovered

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in collaboration with Mayo Clinic and health officials from Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota, reports the discovery of a new species of bacteria (Borrelia mayonii) that causes Lyme disease in people. Until now, Borrelia burgdorferi was the only species believed to cause Lyme disease in North America. This bacterium is carried by ticks and can infect humans through the bite of an infected blacklegged (or “deer”) tick. B. mayonii has been identified in blacklegged ticks collected in at least two counties in northwestern Wisconsin, but evidence to date suggests that the distribution of B. mayonii is limited to the upper midwestern United States.

EH professionals play a significant role in the reduction of tick-borne disease as they are often contacted by the public and healthcare providers to investigate complaints.

Some questions you may have:

Do we report this as Lyme disease?

Cases of Borrelia mayonii should be reported as Lyme disease using per your usual procedure.

Who should we contact if we get a case?

If you are a county or local health department, please contact your state health department. If you are with a state health department, please feel free to contact Alison Hinckley at CDC.

Main messages for health care providers:

  • Health care providers in Upper Midwest should be aware of a newly discovered species of Borrelia, provisionally named Borrelia mayonii.
  • Based on six described cases, symptoms are similar to that of Lyme disease, but may also include nausea and vomiting (four patients), neurologic involvement (three patients), high levels of spirochetemia, and a variety of rash types—including macular rashes and erythema migrans rashes.
  • If you suspect that your patient might have Borrelia mayonii, consider both a PCR/blood smear and Lyme disease serology for suspect cases (even though PCR is not routinely recommended for Borrelia burgdorferi infection). LD serology may be positive for patients with B. mayonii.
  • Treat the infection with antibiotics as you would for Lyme disease.
  • Report cases to local/state public health department so they can follow-up with providers and patients and learn more about the clinical course of illness.
  • Also consider anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, or babesiosis as causes of tickborne illness.

Additional Resources