Communicable Disease Surveillance: Monthly
Story Behind the Curve
Lyme disease is caused by an infection with a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. In Ohio, B. burgdorferi is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis.
Early symptoms of Lyme disease typically begin three to 30 days after a tick bite and can include:
Erythema migrans rash ("bull's eye" rash), Headache, Fever, Chills, Muscle pain, Joint pain, Fatigue
Lyme disease cases are increasing in Ohio as the range of blacklegged tick populations continues to expand in the state and encounters with this tick occur more frequently, particularly in the forest habitats preferred by this tick.
Most humans are infected through the bites of immature ticks calls nymphs. Nymphs are tiny (less than 2 mm) and difficult to see; they feed during the spring and summer months. Adult ticks can also transmit Lyme disease bacteria, but they are much larger and are more likely to be discovered and removed before they have had time to transmit the bacteria. Adult blacklegged ticks are most active during the cooler months of the year.