Lyme disease is the most common vectorborne disease in Maine. Ticks are already out and the number of Lyme disease cases is expected to increase as the weather continues to get warmer. May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Maine and the Maine CDC encourage all Mainers to be “Tick Aware and Tick Alert” to stay tick free.
Lyme disease is a bacterial infection that is carried by the deer tick. Cases increased over the last decade in Maine, and occur in all 16 counties. Providers reported over 1,400 cases of Lyme disease statewide in 2018 and are already reporting cases in 2019. Lyme disease is most common among school age children and mature adults over the age of 65. You can get tick-borne illnesses any time of the year. However, young ticks (nymphs – which are the size of a poppy seed!) are most active during the warmer months of MAY through JULY. Adult ticks (size of a sesame seed) are most active during FALL and SPRING. The most common early symptom of Lyme disease is an expanding red rash that occurs 3-30 days after being bitten. Fever, joint and muscle pains may also occur. Untreated infections can lead to clinical findings in skeletal, cardiac, and nervous systems. Lyme disease is treatable, and the majority of patients recover after appropriate therapy.
For more information, contact your primary care provider or York Hospital Infectious Disease, Immunization and Travel Services at (207) 351-3530. Information on tickborne diseases including Lyme can be found by visiting www.maine.gov/dhhs/tickfaq.