Lyme Disease (North America) Characteristics

Infectious agent: Borrelia burgdorferi, a spirochete

Vector: Ixodes scapularis (Northeast, Midwest), I. pacificus (West); survival dependent on temperature and humidity, among other factors; habitats in the Northeast include forest/residential property edges, stone walls; habitats in the West include north-facing slopes (where the humidity is higher); habitats in the Upper Midwest may be associated with soils, among other factors.

Reservoir: Ixodid ticks, rodents, deer; deer serve as the primary source of bloodmeals for adult ticks, as well as the means of transport within and between human settlements.

United States Occurrence

Lyme Distribution
North America AVHRR-derived NDVI image for 1994


Durland Fish, Ph.D. and Carrie A. Howard, M.A. Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut.

Global Occurrence

Lyme Distribution
Global mean AVHRR-derived NDVI image for 1987


Benenson, A. (ed). 1995. Control of Communicable Diseases Manual. 16th Ed., American Public Health Association, Washington, DC.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 1999. Health Information for International Travel 1999-2000. DHHS, Atlanta, GA.

Isselbacher, K.J., J.B Martin, E. Braunwald, A.S. Fauci, J.D. Wilson, D.L. Kasper (eds). 1994. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 13th Ed. McGraw-Hill, Inc.

Tierney, L.M., Jr., S.J. McPhee, M.A. Papadakis (eds). 1996. Current Medical Diagnosis and Treatment. 35th Ed. Appleton and Lange, Stamford, CT.

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Last updated: 23 Nov 1999