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Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is caused by bacteria. Humans get this disease through the bite of an infected* blacklegged tick. This is the most common vector-borne disease* in the United States and has been found in northeastern, mid-Atlantic, pacific coast and north-central United States.


How can I get sick?  

  • Through the bite of an infected* blacklegged tick or deer tick  

  • Ticks can attach to any part of the body, but it can be hard to see in some areas such as armpit, and scalp.  
  • For most Lyme Disease cases, the tick must be attached for 36 to 48 hours for the bacteria to spread.  

Symptoms in humans: 

  • Red rash  
    • Gets bigger overtime and can sometimes feel warm 
    • Not usually painful or itchy 
  • Fever (when your body gets a little hotter than normal) 

  • Chills (feeling of being cold and shivering) 
  • Headache 
  • Tiredness 
  • Muscle pain 
  • Joint pain 

If you do not get treatment from your doctor, you may experience serious symptoms. 

What can I do to stay healthy?  

Before you go outside  

  • Know where ticks live!  
    • Ticks live in grassy, bushy, or wooded areas. They also live on animals.   
      • When hiking or walking outside, try to stay on trails.   
      • While hunting or trapping, use gloves when touching an animal or harvesting* an animal.  
  • Hunting, camping, hiking, gardening, or playing outside can bring you close to ticks.   
  • Treat your clothes, gear (boots, tents, backpacks or camping gear), or any outdoor equipment with insect repellent*.   
  • Wear long pants, long sleeves, and long socks when outside.    
  • Use insect repellents* while hiking, camping, hunting, or being outside. Ask an adult to help you with insect repellent*.   

Before you come inside after being outside  

  • Check your clothes, pets, and gear (backpacks, shoes, tents) for ticks before going inside.   
  • If you have a tick on you, ask for help to have it removed.    
  • Shower soon after being outside to wash off ticks and do a tick check.   
  • Check your body for ticks after being outside. Check under your arms, in and around your ears, inside belly button, back of your knees, in and around your hair, between the legs, and around your waist. 


  • Harvesting an animal: The process of removing an animal to be used for meat or fur.
  • Infected: When germs get inside of a body, animal, or an organism.  
  • Vector-borne disease: A disease that is spread by the bite of anthropods, such as mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas. 
  • Insect repellent: Product applied to skin, clothing or surfaces to keep insects away.  



Species Affected

Learn About Other Diseases

Click below to learn more about the many different diseases that can spread between animals and humans.