Special Report

The Worst States For Lyme Disease

For the nearly 165 million Americans who are fully vaccinated, summer 2021 has brought something of a return to normalcy. Still, in much of the country, experts advise revelers flocking to beaches, parks, and backyard barbecues to remain vigilant of another public health threat — Lyme disease. 

Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness that is typically contracted after an infected blacklegged tick attaches itself to an individual for 36 to 48 hours. Nationwide, there were 23,453 confirmed cases of Lyme disease and another 11,492 probable cases in 2019. Over the last three years, there were an average of 7.8 confirmed cases of the disease for every 100,000 Americans. 

 Early symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and typically either a rash or swollen lymph nodes. Usually the disease can be cured with a course of antibiotics, but if left untreated for more than a month, it can lead to more severe symptoms including severe headaches, facial palsy, nerve pain, numbness, and episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath, among others. Here is a look at symptoms that you may not know are actually allergic reactions

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24/7 Wall St. identified the worst states for Lyme disease. States were ranked on the average per capita infection rate for the last three years of data. Only states considered to be “high-incidence” — meaning at least 10 confirmed cases per 100,000 for three reporting years of the last 10 — were considered. We included Washington D.C. in our analysis. 

Those who have been bitten by a tick will often not know, as the ticks are generally about the size of a poppy seed. That is why it is important for those spending time outdoors, particularly in the mid-Atlantic, Northeast, and parts of the Midwest, to check carefully for ticks — especially in hard-to-see areas like the groin, armpits, and scalp.

Click here to see the worst states for Lyme disease.
Click here to see our detailed methodology.