Find out how to keep yourself and your family safe.
Lyme disease is now in all 50 states and the number of cases is rising, according to a report from clinical laboratory Quest Diagnostics.
The tick-borne illness, historically found mostly in the Northeast, is now growing rapidly in California and Florida, where it was not usually found in the past, according to a report from clinical laboratory Quest Diagnostics. More than 60 percent of cases are still found in New England and Pennsylvania, but cases are also increasing in Georgia, Arizona, Ohio, Texas, Tennessee, and Virginia, according to the report.
"Lyme disease is a bigger risk to more people in the United States than ever before," Harvey W. Kaufman, M.D., senior medical director for Quest Diagnostics, said in a statement. "Our data show that positive results for Lyme are both increasing in number and occurring in geographic areas not historically associated with the disease.”
Lyme disease causes more than 300,000 illnesses in the U.S. each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If caught early enough, Lyme can be treated with antibiotics. If not treated, Lyme disease can cause joint pain, headaches, dizziness, Bell’s palsy, and other ailments.
The most telling symptom of Lyme disease is a "bullseye" rash where the tick is located. But sometimes it is hidden underneath hair or located on parts of the body that are harder to see. If you have been in the woods recently, have been working in the yard, or have come across deer and plants in any other capacity, make sure to check yourself (or have someone else check you) for ticks or tick bites. Check children thoroughly as well. If you have a rash and/or have symptoms like fever, joint pain, or headaches, visit your doctor right away.