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Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. According to the CDC, approximately 476,000 people get Lyme disease each year. Ticks are active from March to November, but they become more aggressive in the spring as the weather gets warmer. Recently, tick activity has been on the rise in a lot of areas in the country, so that 476,000 statistic could trend upward.
The only good news is that not all tick species contract Lyme disease. Lyme disease is an infectious disease spread through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick. Though these ticks are found just about everywhere, there are some areas of the United States that experience higher tick activity, and therefore have higher rates of the disease. We took the most recent statistics from the CDC on Lyme disease cases by state and listed out the top five states in the east for tick and Lyme disease reports.
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Once again, Pennsylvania comes in at the top as the state with the most cases of Lyme disease in 2020. Lyme disease was present in 65 out of 67 counties, and in 2020, Pennsylvania recorded 3,334 confirmed cases of the disease. Thankfully, this is a 63% decrease in cases from 2019, however, anyone heading outside must proceed with caution this year as warmer winters are leading to earlier and more active ticks. Rural areas found throughout the state are the perfect spot for ticks to hibernate, as these areas are covered with vegetation, grass, and forests.
New Jersey has always been a hot spot for ticks and Lyme disease cases. This year, the state moved up a spot on our list with 2,566 cases of Lyme disease. Up from 2019, New Jersey has a rate of about 29 cases per 100,000 people, which is far higher than the national rate of 10.7. Morris County, which is a popular location for NYC commuters to live, had the highest number of cases in 2020 with 301, but the good news is that number is down from last year’s 426 cases. But as we stated above, take caution because ticks are expected to be out in abundance this year thanks to a warmer winter.
Falling down one spot, New York comes in third on our list for 2020. In 2020, the state reported approximately 2,240 confirmed cases of Lyme disease and New York City alone had 704. New York residents may run into ticks when visiting the grassy and wooded areas upstate, however, the blacklegged tick is established in two main areas in NYC - Staten Island and North Bronx. In NYC, ticks can be found in more shaded areas where trees, bushes, and leaf litter can keep them hidden and cool. With more travel to and from the state, resulting in more ticks coming to the area, New York residents must be careful when spending time outdoors.
In 2020, Wisconsin jumped up a spot landing at number four on our list. With 1,447 cases of Lyme disease, Wisconsin’s wet and warm climate creates the perfect environment for ticks to thrive. The Lyme disease-carrying blacklegged tick is found in every county in the state. Wisconsin also has a large deer population, creating an even higher risk of spreading the disease. The NPMA reported Wisconsin is among the top 25 percent of states reporting a high incidence of Lyme disease cases.
Also, let us introduce you to our sister company, Batzner Pest Control. They’ll be able to take care of your tick control needs in the Wisconsin area.
Maine is last on our list reporting 1,128 cases of Lyme disease in 2020. Maine has a shocking rate of 83.5 Lyme disease cases per 100,000 people, and it has been one of the most reported infectious diseases in the state. With its heavily wooded areas, Maine provides the perfect environment for ticks to thrive from May through August, and in the winter months, ticks are still active when the weather is above 30 degrees.
Regardless of whether or not you can see them, ticks are just about everywhere. Many people know they can run into ticks when hiking outdoors, but what is surprising to some is that ticks are hanging out right in your backyard.
*Data provided by CDC. Please note that due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, 2019 and 2020 data from some jurisdictions may be incomplete.