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Lyme Disease

Lyme Disease Overview

Lyme disease, sometimes referred to as Lyme infection, is a bacterial illness, transmitted to humans by the bite of deer ticks (Ixodes ticks) carrying a bacterium known as Borrelia burgdorferi. The disease has been reported in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, North Central, and Pacific coastal regions of the United States (see map) and in Europe, where it was first described almost 100 years ago. It is most prevalent in the northeastern states of the United States, with about half of all cases clustered in New York and Connecticut.

Doctors at New Haven's Yale Medical Center first described and named Lyme disease in the United States in the late 1970s. An unexpected number of residents in Lyme, Connecticut, were found to have a "new" and unusual illness.

  • Fortunately, less than 5% of tick bites in high-contact areas result in Lyme infections.


  • Doctors have learned a great deal about the illness since that original cluster of people was observed. Treatments are available for Lyme disease.
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Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Lyme Disease »

Lyme disease is due to infection with the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi and the body's immune response to the infection.

Read More on Medscape Reference »


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