This May, researchers published a study on Lyme disease that they say can predict where Lyme disease will be most prevalent this year. Because Lyme disease is a constant worry when it comes to ticks, researchers devoted four years to learning more about it.
From 2011 to 2015, scientists conducted tests to find out about the prevalence of the disease in different parts of the country. From this research, they hoped to find patterns that would indicate future prevalence of Lyme disease.
The researchers were able to create forecast maps, showing where ticks carrying the Lyme disease bacteria are this year.
And the results, published May 2017, in PLOS ONE, are pretty stunning:
In 2017, there are two areas that are hotspots for ticks carrying the Lyme disease bacteria: the Northeast and the upper Midwest.
States in the Northeast that should be particularly cautious when dealing with ticks include:
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- New York
- New Jersey
States in the Midwest that should be cautious include:
The county-level map shown above also points out some individual counties around the country that may be more affected than the rest of their state.
After spending time outside, you should always check for ticks (especially in the highly-affected states).
Lyme disease can cause a lot of problems, including long-term issues with heart, muscle, and nervous system functioning.
Symptoms of Lyme disease include:
- Achy joints and muscle
- A low-grade fever
If you experience any of these symptoms and think it may be due to a tick bite, make an appointment with your doctor. Lyme disease is a relatively common disease (each year there are around 30,000 cases), but many people don’t know the signs or treatment.