Lyme disease is one of the conditions that can stem from being bitten by an infected tick, but luckily, the number of cases appears to be dropping in New England. This is good news, seeing as the Northeast is often one of the hardest hit areas for Lyme disease and other tick-caused ailments (“Here’s one benefit of the long, hot summer: Lyme disease cases are down,” 2018).
But why are the numbers down?
Look to the weather, experts say. A long, dry summer has made it difficult for ticks to thrive. Public health authorities have said they are finding fewer deer ticks, in particular. In Maine, for example, the number of Lyme disease cases for May, June and July were well below long-term averages.
Charles Lubelczyk, a field biologist with the Maine Medical Center Research Institute in Scarborough, Maine, notes that Maine has had a relatively hot summer.
“They aren’t as active as they would normally be,” he told the AP, referring to the ticks. “That may translate into less risk for some people. This is also being reported in other parts of New England as well.”
But not so fast, says Lubelczyk. It’s possible that the ticks have not necessarily died, but hunkered down, as they can survive easily in less than ideal conditions. He says that states will really know whether or not it’s been a bad season for Lyme disease come fall, which is typically another bad season for the ailment.
Lyme Disease Symptoms
Not all ticks carry Lyme disease, but it’s still important for people to remain vigilant about checking for ticks after spending time outdoors. It’s equally important for pet owners to check their animals for the insects after they have been outside as well.
Some of the key symptoms of Lyme disease in humans are a rash in the shape of a bull’s eye, and flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, etc.). Further signs may present themselves as joint pain and neurological problems (“Lyme Disease,” 2018).
In the event that a positive diagnosis is made, Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics. However, it is important to seek the help of a medical professional as soon as possible in the event that you have been bitten by a tick and show any of these symptoms.
Associated Press. “Here’s one benefit of the long, hot summer: Lyme disease cases are down.” Retrieved Sept. 10, 2018, from https://www.wcvb.com/article/heres-one-benefit-of-the-long-hot-summer-lyme-disease-cases-are-down/23049860
“Lyme Disease.” Mayo Clinic. Retrieved Sept. 10, 2018, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lyme-disease/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20374655