Lyme Disease is a tick-borne bacterial infection. It is primarily transmitted by the bites of deer ticks (Ixodes ticks) on the east coast and black-legged ticks on the west coast. These ticks are typically found in grassy and wooded areas.
Lyme Disease may have a range of symptoms and effects. It is also often found with “co-infections” (other concurrent illnesses).
According to the estimates of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 300,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with Lyme Disease each year. This number is an approximation because it is widely believed that there are many more cases that are not diagnosed correctly. Lyme Disease is difficult to diagnose.
Lyme Disease can affect people of all ages and some animals (most commonly cats, dogs and horses). It is most commonly found in children, older adults, and those with suppressed immune systems. It is also very common among firefighters and park rangers. Ticks can attach themselves in grassy and wooded areas, but it can also be transmitted by ticks carried by cats, dogs and horses. People who work (or play) in grassy or wooded areas or who have close interaction with pets or horses should be especially diligent in checking for ticks regularly.
Examination or self-examination for ticks is very important, as is correct removal of the ticks, because the likelihood of contracting Lyme Disease increases when ticks are not removed during the first 24 to 48 hours.
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