You’re Most Likely to Get Lyme Disease in These 15 States
You may think you’re safe from Lyme disease, but data suggests this tick-borne condition is on the rise. In fact, the CDC reports around 300,000 new diagnoses annually. If the condition goes unnoticed or untreated, it can cause chronic pain, fatigue, and even neurological issues.
So how likely are you to contract Lyme disease in your state? Here are the states with the most incidents, according to the CDC. Avoid one surprising location at all costs (page 10).
15. Washington, D.C.
Incidence: 9.7 per 100,000 residents
While the capital didn’t boast the most prevalent numbers for Lyme incidence rates (just 66 confirmed cases occurred in 2016), those numbers seem to be on the rise. What’s more interesting: Lyme used to be a non-issue in D.C. Quest Diagnostics data shows no state is immune to it now, so it’s necessary to learn the best ways to avoid ticks.
Next: This state should be for lovers — not Lyme disease.
Incidence: 11.6 per 100,000 residents
University of Richmond assistant professor Jory Brinkerhoff told The Roanoke Times that Lyme disease was nearly unheard of in Virginia 10 years ago. But it’s a different story nowadays. Since 2013, Lyme cases have been spotted across the state. And CDC data verifies 976 cases confirmed in 2016 alone.
Next: The “new” state is not quite new to Lyme disease.
13. New York
Incidence: 13.3 per 100,000 residents
It’s no secret Lyme disease has heavily affected the East Coast. NYUp.com notes an increase in cases, apparently stemming from the Central New York and Adirondack areas. (Western New York seems to be the least affected.) Overall, 13.3 residents out of every 100,000 were affected in 2016, and there were a total of 2,623 confirmed cases.
Next: This state has seen a sharp spike in Lyme cases since 2015.
12. West Virginia
Incidence: 16.2 per 100,000 residents
It may not be at the very top of the list, but West Virginia residents should still be wary when it comes to Lyme. Tick Check shows the incidence rate for the disease was relatively low from 2012 to 2014, but once 2015 hit, the rate spiked significantly. And 2016 saw the highest rates the state had ever seen before.
The CDC data shows every 16.2 residents out of 100,000 have contacted Lyme here, and in total, there were 297 confirmed cases as of 2016.
Next: Another East Coast state, but more South than many others on the list.
Incidence: 21.2 per 100,000 residents
With the Lyme spike in the entire U.S. over the years, Maryland also hasn’t gotten away unscathed. Tick Check shows this state actually had its most severe year for Lyme back in 2007, and the rates have remained relatively high for the past 10 years or so. Though there was a dip in incidents, it seems they’re on the rise again. And the CDC data from 2016 shows for every 100,000 residents, the were around 21.2 confirmed cases. And in 2016 alone, there were 1,274 confirmed cases.
Next: This midwestern state may surprise you.
Incidence: 23.6 per 100,o00 residents
As shown above, the CDC’s 2016 data shows there are around 23.6 confirmed incidents of Lyme per 100,000 residents — and more current 2017 data from the Minnesota Department of Health shows these numbers are on the rise. In 2017, this shot up to 25.5 incidents per 100,000 residents.
The state’s health department also concluded that we can expect to see more Lyme cases in Minnesota in the future. There were only 913 confirmed cases from 2000 t0 2008. But from 2009 to 2017, that number of cases progressed to 1,203.
Next: You may not expect another midwestern state to make the list.
Incidence: 26.0 per 100,000 residents
Like Minnesota, other midwestern states are also seeing a sharp rise in Lyme disease cases. The CDC’s data shows in 2016, there were around 26 cases were 100,000 residents and over 1,500 confirmed cases that year alone. That’s nearly 200 more confirmed cases than the year before.
Not only that, but Brookfield Patch reports another tick-borne virus is hitting Wisconsin. The same type of tick that can carry Lyme can also carry Powassan, a viral infection that can cause an even worse reaction than Lyme. Wisconsin has seen 15 cases of this from 2006 to 2015.
Next: Lyme disease in the U.S. originated from this New England state.
Incidence: 34.6 per 100,000 residents
In case you didn’t know the origins of the condition in the U.S., the Bay Area Lyme Foundation notes in the early ’70s, some children and adults living in the area of Lyme, Connecticut, experienced debilitating health issues. The affected went untreated and improperly diagnosed for years until doctors finally figured out what was causing the symptoms well into the ’80s.
Today, Lyme disease continues to affect Connecticut and many other New England states heavily. The CDC’s 2016 data found there were around 34.6 confirmed cases out of every 100,000 residents, with 1,238 total confirmed cases.
Next: Lyme disease is ripping through this state in 2018.
7. New Jersey
Incidence: 37.3 per 100,000 residents
Not only does the CDC notes in their 2016 data that out of every 100,000 residents there were around 37 confirmed cases, but there were also 3,332 confirmed cases that year — the second highest amount by state in the U.S. Scarily enough, those rates are on the rise, too. NJ.com notes in 2017, the number of reported cases shot up to 5,092. That’s the highest yearly total in almost 20 years. As for why there’s such a surge, experts believe a higher population of rodents and deer may partially be to blame.
Next: This East Coast state is now known for more than just its pretty beaches.
Incidence: 41.1 per 100,000 residents
Delaware takes one of the top spots on the list when it comes to contracting Lyme disease. But surprisingly, it’s seen far worse years than 2016. While the CDC’s 2016 data notes there were around 41 cases per 100,000 residents (with a total of 391 confirmed cases), this wasn’t the worst the state’s seen. Back in 2009, Delaware actually saw 984 confirmed cases, and several other years, the state was between the 500 and 700 case range.
There’s always the chance the incidence rate could rise once again, however, so be wary.
Next: Lyme disease has had a lasting impact on this small state.
5. Rhode Island
Incidence: 50.6 per 100,000 residents
The state may be small, but it has a startling number of residents who’ve gotten Lyme. The CDC 2016 data states there were around 50 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents, and that year alone there were 535 cases total. For a state with just a little over a million people, it may not seem like much, but that’s still a fairly high percentage.
These cases are heavily on the rise, too. Back in 2011, there were only 111 confirmed cases in the state. In just five years, you can see how that number jumped significantly.
Next: This northern New England state made the top four to watch out for.
4. New Hampshire
Incidence: 51.8 per 100,000 residents
Claiming the No. 4 spot is this northern New England state, which the CDC notes had nearly 52 residents per 100,000 affected by Lyme in 2016. In total that year, there were also 691 confirmed cases — a huge jump from the previous year, which only saw 436.
According to New Hampshire Public Radio, all of New England should be bracing themselves for a rise in all tick and mosquito-borne illnesses in years to come. The number of cases for these diseases has tripled from 2004 to 2016. And currently, there are five major tick-borne diseases that New Hampshire health officials are monitoring thanks to a booming tick population.
Next: The third-highest state from 2016 is seeing a sharp rise in cases today.
Incidence: 70.3 per 100,000 residents
Pennsylvania is well-known for having plenty of ticks that carry this disease, so residents beware. In 2016, the CDC notes out of every 100,000 residents, there were roughly 70 confirmed cases. And in total that year, there were a whopping 8,988 confirmed cases — the highest of any state.
Those numbers aren’t slated to reduce any time soon, either. CBS Philly notes this state now leads the country in the highest number of cases as of 2018 data.
Next: Neighboring New Hampshire, this state also has a Lyme disease issue.
Incidence: 78.1 per 100,000 residents
The brutal winters aren’t enough to keep this disease at bay. In 2016, the CDC found that over 78 residents out of every 100,000 contracted Lyme, with a total of 488 confirmed cases in the small state. And the Burlington Free Press reported in 2018 that agency specialists have found around 50% of the ticks tested in the state are carrying Lyme. That means if you’re bit by a tick in Vermont, there’s a pretty good chance you could get the disease. And it seems the longer fall and spring seasons in the state are only making the situation more dire.
Next: This chilly New England state holds the No. 1 spot.
Incidence: 86.4 per 100,000 residents
Like Vermont and New Hampshire, you may assume ticks don’t love the cold — but they’re totally thriving in Maine. The CDC info from 2016 notes around 86 people out of every 100,000 got Lyme, and there were a total of 1,151 confirmed cases that year.
As for why Maine residents are particularly susceptible to Lyme, News Center Maine notes experts say the state’s large rural population puts people at a bigger risk for tick bites. Naturopathic doctor Jacob Aguiar also added, “We can’t forget ticks are carrying more than Lyme.” If you’re living in this state, make sure you’re doing everything you can to ward away the tiny pests.
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