Posey certainly isn't alone. Lyme disease affects about 20,000 people in the United States each year, versus 10,000 new cases annually in the early '90s. Transmitted by blacklegged ticks, called deer ticks, in the eastern US and western blacklegged ticks on the West Coast, Lyme disease is caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium. Not every tick transmits Lyme disease, just the ones that have fed on infected animals. Learn how to recognize the symptoms and prevent Lyme disease when you read more.
If you are bitten by a tick, you may not feel it. So keep an eye out for these symptoms if you've been outdoors:
- A bull's eye-like skin rash, such as the one shown here. It may start as a small spot and expand into a purplish circle over a few days.
- Joint aches
Most cases can be cured quickly with antibiotics, but some patients will later develop neurological complications, such as Bell's palsy. So be sure to protect yourself from ticks whenever you're outdoors by covering your skin with long sleeves and socks, and use plenty of bug spray. Don't forget to have a friend check you for ticks when you get home.
Have you ever had a tick or contracted Lyme disease?