The Lyme Disease Map Project is a voluntary study to evaluate the effectiveness of social networking for public health education and to prevent the spread of Lyme disease. To explore the map, click on the pinpoints and read the personal stories of people who have had Lyme disease. You can zoom in and out by using the controls in the upper left hand corner of the map. For more information see the "About the Project" sidebar item.
If you or anyone you know has had Lyme disease and want to add a pinpoint and story to the map, go to "Add a Case" in the sidebar. Everyone is encouraged to click and complete the "Visitor's Survey" found on the sidebar.
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About Lyme Disease
Lyme disease (borreliosis) is the most prevalent tickborne infectious disease in the United States. The disease is caused by a spiral-shaped bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, and transmitted to humans by the black-legged tick, Ixodes scapularis.
Typically, the first symptom of Lyme disease is a red rash known as erythema migrans (EM). The telltale rash starts as a small red spot at the site of the tick bite and expands over time, forming a circular or oval-shaped rash. As infection spreads, rashes can appear at different sites on the body. Erythema migrans is often accompanied by symptoms such as fever, headache, stiff neck, body aches, and fatigue.
After several months of B. Burgdorferi infection, slightly more than half of people not treated with antibiotics develop recurrent attacks of painful and swollen joints, most commonly in the knees. About 10 to 20 percent of untreated people develop chronic arthritis.
Lyme disease can also affect the nervous system, causing such symptoms as stiff neck, Bell's palsy, and numbness in the limbs. Less commonly, untreated people can develop heart problems, hepatitis, and severe fatigue.
Healthcare providers may have difficulty diagnosing Lyme disease because many of its more common symptoms are similar to those of other disorders and viral infections. In addition, the only distinctive sign unique to Lyme disease—the EM rash is absent in at least one-fourth of the people who become infected.
Provisional data on notifiable diseases from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that, throughout the United States, 17,002 cases were reported in 2006 (Mobidity and Mortality Weekly Report 55:1378-1408, 2007, Table II). This is a 27 percent decrease from the 23,364 cases reported in 2005. More than 95 percent of all reported cases are concentrated in the New England, Mid-Atlantic, East North-Central, South Atlantic, and West North-Central states, where decreases ranging from 14 percent to 39 percent were reported for 2005.
While everyone is susceptible to tick bites, campers, hikers, and people who work on gardens and in other leafy outdoor venues are at the greatest risk of being bitten by them.
This is important because Lyme disease, an infection caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, or B. burgdorferi, is transmitted via the bite of infected ticks.
Lyme disease is named after a town in Connecticut where, in 1975, it was first recognized. It is transmitted by a group of closely related species of ticks known as Ixodes.
Ticks in this group—deer ticks, western black-legged ticks, and black-legged ticks—are much smaller than the common dog or cattle ticks, and attach to any part of the body, often to moist or hairy areas such as the groin, armpits, and scalp.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 23,305 cases of Lyme disease in the United States in 2005. Most occurred in the coastal northeast, the Mid-Atlantic States, Wisconsin and Minnesota, and northern California.
The overwhelming majority of cases are reported in the summer months when ticks are most active and people spend more time outdoors.
The Food and Drug Administration regulates products that are used to help diagnose and treat this complex disease in humans. There are no licensed vaccines in the United States to aid in the prevention of Lyme disease in people.
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