A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says lyme disease, usually found in hotspots of the northeast United States, is spreading across the country.
“Over time, the number of counties identified as having high incidence of Lyme disease in the northeastern states increased more than 320 percent,” the report states. The disease is also appearing in places that have never recorded the disease before.
Climate change is a major factor to this lyme disease spike.
Ticks live in dense, forested areas, and are white mice’s number one prey. Forest clearing has reduced the white mice population, getting rid of the tick’s predator. With humans passing these areas, they’re easy targets for the rampant bugs. Thanks to warmer temperatures, ticks are spreading from their normal territories on the East coast across America’s heartland.
Lyme disease is an infection caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi, bacteria found on blacklegged deer ticks. High fever, headaches, fatigue, and skin rashes are common symptoms, and if left untreated, the infection can spread to the heart and nervous system.
It can even be fatal.
New high-risk states include Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Virginia, New York, Iowa, Michigan, and Minnesota.
Here’s how you can protect yourself from the disease, and what to do if you already have it.