Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by the bite of an infected deer tick, and left untreated Lyme disease can spread to joints, the heart and the nervous system.

Since Lyme disease first became reportable in 1986, over 95,000 cases have now been confirmed in New York State. In 2013, 95 percent of confirmed Lyme disease cases were reported from 14 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Wisconsin.

In fact Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vectorborne illness in the United States, according to the CDC. In 2013, it was the fifth most common Nationally Notifiable disease.

  • What Is Lyme Disease?

    Lyme disease is caused by bacteria transmitted by the deer tick and can cause symptoms affecting the skin, nervous system, heart and/or joints, according to the New York Department of Health.

  • Do All Ticks Have Lyme Disease

    No. Not all deer ticks are carrying lyme disease. Ticks become infected if they feed on small animals that are infected. The disease can be spread when an infected tick bites. In most cases, the tick must be attached for 36 hours or more before the bacteria can be transmitted.

  • How Common is Lyme Disease in New York?

    Over 95,000 cases have been reported to the New York State Department of Health since the disease became reportable in 1986.

  • Where and When Does Lyme Disease Most Occur

    It's found in the Northeast, including New York State, as well as in the upper Midwest and the Northwest coast.

    Grassy and wooded areas are at an increased risk of exposure to ticks and lyme disease. Young deer ticks are active from mid-May to mid-August. Adult ticks are most active from March to mid-May and from mid-August to November. Both can transmit Lyme disease.

     

  • Are There Symptoms?

    Yes, but the symptoms can be mild at first. If you have a tick and that tick has been removed keep a close eye out for a rash, a bulls-eye circular patch or solid red patch that grows larger. The rash may appear three days up to a month after the bite and have a diameter of two to six inches. It is not usually painful or itchy and can sometimes lead to multiple rashes.

    Symptoms also include fever, headache and fatigue.

  • How Do I Remove a Tick?

    Grasp the mouthparts with tweezers as close as possible to the point of attachment to the skin by the tick.

    DO NOT SQUEEZE, CRUSH OR PUNCTURE the body of the tick, which may contain infectious fluids.

    After removing the tick, thoroughly disinfect the site.

    MAKE SURE THE ENTIRE TICK HAS BEEN REMOVED!

    See or call a doctor if there are concerns about incomplete tick removal.

     

  • Treatment?

    Antibiotics almost always results in a full cure; however, the chances of a complete cure decrease if treatment is delayed.

  • Avoiding Infection

    Avoid areas where ticks are known or likely to be. When in tick-infested wooded and grassy areas wear light-colored clothing so you will be able to see ticks easily, tuck your pants into your socks and tuck your shirt into your pants, and check every few hours for ticks on clothing or skin.

    Brush off any ticks on clothing before they are able to attach themselves.

    At the end of the day do a thorough check of the body for attached ticks.

    Wear repellent.