There are two variations of the same kind of tick in the United States that carry the Lyme disease virus. On the west coast, it is the Western Black-Legged Tick, or “Ixodes Pacificus,” while on the east coast the main culprit is the deer tick, a.k.a. “Ixodes Scapularis.”
Where is Lyme Disease Prevalent
Lyme disease is a remarkably resourceful ailment. Its symptoms resemble those of many other diseases, and it can target just about any part of the human body: the heart, joints, muscles, brain and-or nervous system. For whatever reason, almost all reported Lyme disease cases in the United States for the most recent year such statistics are available, 2009, occurred in the far northeastern tip and upper Midwest regions above Minnesota.
Confirmed U.S. cases of Lyme disease have been creeping upwards over the past decade and a half, from a total about 12,000 in 1993 to nearly 30,000 in 2009. There are also a number of probable cases added to the totals in 2008 and 2009, thanks to a National Surveillance case definition change.
The scientific name for the Lyme disease bacteria is Borrelia burgdorferi. Though it is transmitted to humans by Deer and Black-Legged ticks, those insects may, in turn, be getting it from squirrels, mice, and other small rodents. The first sign of Lyme disease is a circular rash, which occurs around the area that a person was bitten by a tick. It can take anywhere from three to 30 days for this rash to appear, but distinctively, once the rash starts, it expands outwards in a circular fashion over the next several days. The rash is informally called a “bulls-eye rash” because while the inner portion of the rash area often clears up while the outer, ringed skin area continues to expand, creating the illusion of a bulls-eye target.
California Lyme Disease Association – Know Your Tick Facts, Retrieved November 24, 2010 from http://www.lymedisease.org/lyme101/ticks/Thetickchart%20pcm.pdf
California Lyme Disease Association – Lyme Disease Introduction, Retrieved November 24, 2010 from http://www.lymedisease.org/lyme101/lyme_disease/lyme_disease.html
Centers for Disease Control – Reported Cases of Lyme Disease / 2009, Retrieved November 24, 2010 from http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/lyme/ld_Incidence.htm
Centers for Disease Control – Lyme Disease Transmission, Retrieved November 24, 2010 from http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/lyme/ld_transmission.htm
Schwartz. M.D, M.S., Brian. “Controversies Surrounding Lyme Disease.” Arthritis Information | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Treatment. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2010. http://www.hopkins-arthritis.org/arthritis-info/lyme-disease/controversies.html.