Infectious disease caused by a corkscrew shaped bacteria called a spirochete (Borrelia burgdorferi).
Transmitted by the bite of a deer tick (Ixodes tick). The tick is a parasite because it relies on other animals for food. Since it carries and transmits bacterium from one animal to another, it is also called a vector (a carrier).
Lyme disease was first discovered in US in Lyme, CT.
Lyme disease has been reported in 49 states and is most prevalent in the Northeast, Upper Midwest, and Northern California into Oregon. However, it continues to spread through migratory birds (over 50 species carry ticks), deer overpopulation, and the reforestation of suburbs which have allowed ticks in your own back yard.
Over 100 strains of the bacteria have been identified in the US, 300 strains worldwide.
A single tick bite may simultaneously transmit Lyme disease, as well as co-infections Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, and Bartonella.
Early diagnosis & adequate treatment reduces risk of long term illness.
Surveys have found that up to a quarter of residents in Lyme disease endemic areas have been diagnosed with the disease (CT Agriculture Experiment Station —Tick Management Handbook).
Here are some first hand stories of Lyme disease and its symptoms: