(Photo by Erik Karits from Pexels)

NEW YORK — The summer season is tick season and that means one thing — Lyme disease cases are going to rise in the United States. Now, a concerning new report finds rural communities have seen cases of the tick-borne illness skyrocket in recent years.

Over the last 15 years, from 2007 to 2021, insurance claims for Lyme disease diagnoses have exploded by 357 percent in rural areas. Although people typically encounter disease-carrying ticks in the woods and tall grassy areas, researchers from FAIR Health say urban communities are seeing a surge as well. The non-profit says urban areas across the U.S. have seen a 65-percent rise in Lyme cases since 2007.

Study authors analyzed a database of more than 36 billion privately-billed healthcare claims to discover this alarming trend.

From 2016 to 2021, Lyme disease diagnoses increased by 60 percent in rural America, while urban America saw a 19-percent increase. These cases typically reach their peak in June and July each year — as the country moves into the heart of summer. With more people outside in fields, parks, and other grassy areas, it’s no surprise more people in rural areas develop Lyme after a tick bite during these months.

Interestingly, the team found that there are more cases of Lyme in urban areas between November and April.

Where are Americans encountering ticks?

Historically, ticks are a major problem in the Northeast and upper Midwest, but the new study found that map may be growing in recent years. In 2017, the highest rates of Lyme diagnoses were found in New Jersey, Connecticut, North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Vermont — with North Carolina (third-highest) coming as a surprise to researchers.

In 2021, however, North Carolina did not make the top five. New Jersey continued to rank as the state with the greatest proportion of Lyme disease diagnosis claims in the United States. Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island, and Connecticut rounded out the top five. Researchers for FAIR Health add that the addition of Maine to the top five is also concerning, suggesting that disease-carrying ticks are now an issue in that state as well.

Lyme still a problem after treatment

The study also notes that Lyme disease can still affect patients long after a doctor treats the bacterial infection. While antibiotics can treat the illness, some patients can develop long-term symptoms, including fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and cognitive dysfunction.

“Lyme disease remains a growing public health concern. FAIR Health will continue to use its repository of claims data to provide actionable and relevant insights to healthcare stakeholders seeking to better understand the ongoing rise of Lyme disease cases,” says FAIR Health President Robin Gelburd in a media release.

Most cases of Lyme are mild, and some may not even know they’re sick. The tell-tale sign you’ve been bitten by a tick is a bullseye-like rash at the sight of infection. These cases are usually treatable with antibiotics.

In more serious and untreated cases however, Lyme can spread to the heart, joints, nervous system, and other major organs. These patients can develop neurological problems, weeks or even months after infection. Serious side-effects include inflammation of the brain (meningitis), temporary paralysis of the face, and weakness in the limbs.

About Chris Melore

Chris Melore has been a writer, researcher, editor, and producer in the New York-area since 2006. He won a local Emmy award for his work in sports television in 2011.

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  1. Mark mold says:

    Lyme disease or bio toxin related illness aka mold. The CIRS response is the same either diagnosis.

    1. ken says:

      I heard this disease came from Plumb island kinda like covid 19 came from the lab.

      1. Rats says:

        You heard correctly .

      2. Tiffany says:

        Read Bitten!

      3. TA says:

        Did Lyme disease originate in the eastern U.S. from Borrelia burgdorferi-infected ticks that escaped from a laboratory at the Plum Island Animal Disease Center where scientists were conducting top-secret biological warfare experiments?

        The Plum Island Animal Disease Center (PIADC), that is now managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is dedicated to research on plant and large animal diseases likely to have a significant economic impact on the livestock and agricultural industries. Because of its isolation from the main land mass and stringent containment facilities, it is ideally suited for such work. In 1952, it was managed by the U.S. Army Chemical Corps as a component of its biological warfare program. However, when that program was abolished by a Presidential directive in 1969, it was transferred to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for its present use.
        Some claim that Lyme disease was introduced into the northeastern region of the U.S. by a man-made strain of Borrelia burgdorferi that escaped from a high containment biological warfare laboratory on Plum Island. However, there is ample evidence to indicate that both Ixodes ticks and B. burgdorferi were present in the U.S. well beforethe Plum Island facility was ever established. An examination of museum specimens ofIxodes ticks showed that the presence of Lyme disease spirochetes in suitable arthropod vectors preceded — by at least a generation — the year (1982) when Lyme disease was first recognized as a distinct clinical entity in the U.S. (1, 2). More recent studies revealed that Ixodes ticks and B. burgdorferi were present in the northeastern and Midwestern regions of the U.S. in pre-colonial times and many thousands of years before European settlements were established in the U.S. (3). Lyme disease certainly existed in the U.S. long before anyone knew how to diagnose and treat it.
        Although the per capita incidence of Lyme disease in the Northeastern United States is more than twice that in the Midwestern United States, the prevalence of B. burgdorferiin the tick vector is nearly identical in both regions. The disparity in the incidence of disease did not appear to be due to a disparity in human invasiveness since a genetic analysis revealed that B. burgdorferi population in the Northeast and Midwest shard a recent common ancestor. This suggests that substantial evolutionary divergence in human invasiveness has not occurred and that the disparity in the incidence of disease between the two regions may be due to animal ecology or human behavior (4).
        Finally, the prehistoric remains of “The Ice Man”–more than 5,000 years old– provide positive evidence of infection by Borrelia

    2. Toray99 says:

      Department of Defense (DoD) to conduct a review into whether the Pentagon experimented with ticks and other blood-sucking insects for use as biological weapons between 1950 and 1975.

      If the Inspector General finds that such experiments occurred, then, according to the bill, they must provide the House and Senate Armed Services committees with a report on the scope of the research and “whether any ticks or insects used in such experiments were released outside of any laboratory by accident or experiment design,” potentially leading to the spread of diseases such as Lyme.

  2. G Starr says:

    You can still have lymes and not get the bullseye especially if your on any allergy medicine

    1. Tammy says:

      Thank you for confirming this. I live in Florida and have been bitten 3 times with only one rash as a child. I am dealing with symptoms related to lyme but doctors won’t test me yet they cannot figure out why I stay sick. I have been getting worse as years progress and I am so tired of being overlooked because Florida isn’t counted as a high priority state.

  3. snewsom says:

    Bunch of people left cities for the sticks, you have to check for ticks in the sticks, if you didn’t grow up doing that, and no one tells you, you are going to increase you chances of getting Lyme disease.

    1. Nell says:

      The sticks?

    2. dw says:

      I live in the burbs – you have to check for it everywhere. The burbs are as bad or worse because the deer density is high. You have shrubs in the yard, or hedges, and the deer are in them, etc.

      Son got a big lymph gland all of the sudden a few weeks ago and then got a very light fever – lyme. Luckily caught right away and antibiotics smashed it.

      he got covid about 4 days ago – symptoms lasted half a day.

      if anyone has a fever and an enlarged lymph node, get to the doc right away and don’t just assume it’s a cold or flu virus.

    3. Tim says:

      The deer are coming into towns and cities fir an easier life. I ended up with Lymes without going into the woods but by hanging out in my backyard.

  4. Walter says:

    Costs more to mow the grass, so less of that going on too!

  5. Mj says:

    That’s not a tick in the photo.

    1. Gwen says:

      That is a red tail tick or deer tick

  6. Rory says:

    The deer are a problem and need to be killed off or at least treated for ticks

    1. Yror says:

      Yes we should round them all up and give them flea/tick baths.

    2. Gwen says:


  7. Hannah Dustan says:

    Forty years and still no vaccine !
    They’re not even trying .

  8. HLR says:

    This article has a section that says: “Lyme is still a problem after treatment”

    Here’s the deal: The insurance companies got a hold of the CDC and it declared 30 days of antibiotics would clear up Lyme and anything after that is “post-lyme syndrome.” Thats BS – it takes several rounds and way longer than 30 days to tackle lyme which usually has co-infections that require their own treatment. So the standard of care determined by people who didn’t want to pay for IV antibiotics has created large numbers of people who will live sick having not eradicated their illness and they will be told by doctors that this is post lyme syndrome when its still active infection or co-infections. If you can swing it, I highly recommend you find an MD who does oral antibiotics (you can use insurance for the meds) but that doesn’t take insurance for office visits. Then they are not beholden the standard of care that keeps you sick.

    It will cost you less in the long run if you do whatever it takes to get well on the front end. Otherwise you will run through a string of strange symptoms that seem like different illnesses and end up in the ER, seeing specialists, etc. But really its not post-lyme syndrome, you still have active infections that are untreated.

    I am 7 years in remission. ZERO issues. Dr. Jemsek for the win!!!!

    1. Constantina8 says:

      OMG!!!!! I was going to respond to you, recommending a Lyme-literate doctor, such as Dr. Joseph Jemsek, in Washington, DC. He helped my sister so much with her chronic Lyme Disease. We used to travel to DC just to see him. He is a miracle-worker. Everyone please read HLR’s post. Long-term antibiotic treatment is needed!

    2. BobS says:

      Lyme has a cycle. When active, the bug is wreaking havoc with your health. It then goes dormant into a cystic form, that is antibiotic resistant. It’s likely folks treat by taking antibiotics and feel better in 6 weeks because they killed off all the active bacteria. The cystic form however is still there and when activates, starts the cycle all over again, and again and again. It’s a smart bug. It knows how to hide and protect itself. 30 days of Doxy will only work if the antibiotic kills it all before any go dormant ( cystic form). Once that happens, it’s got you. Prepare to battle. I can write a book. Also- beware of all the scams. There are those that prey upon sick people looking for help that will pay anything. They belong in jail. If you’re sick, find a Lyme literate doctor. My guy was in Manhattan- Lyme Resource Center.

  9. Marie says:

    70 % of people who get lymes do not get a bulls eye.

  10. Susan says:

    Most drs over look my Lymes disease. Was missed diagnosed for over 5 hrs. Still have it in blood work. Have a lot of affects from it

  11. John says:

    there WAS a vaccine for this – there were some adverse reactions in a small number of people and the anti-vaxxers won the day

    1. 65in20 says:

      “Anti vaxxers”? When they had the vaccine, years ago, the developers actually were concerned with adverse reactions. Today, the federal government protects the pharma companies from lawsuits so the “agenda” and depopulation can procede without obstruction. Had a bad reaction from the covid shot? Want compensation? Be prepared to spend hundreds of thousands and years in litigation with this death cult in charge today.

  12. Toray99 says:

    Department of Defense (DoD) to conduct a review into whether the Pentagon experimented with ticks and other blood-sucking insects for use as biological weapons between 1950 and 1975.

    If the Inspector General finds that such experiments occurred, then, according to the bill, they must provide the House and Senate Armed Services committees with a report on the scope of the research and “whether any ticks or insects used in such experiments were released outside of any laboratory by accident or experiment design,” potentially leading to the spread of diseases such as Lyme.

  13. Tiffany says:

    Only 20% of people get the bullseye rash! Not a good indicator! If you get flu like symptoms within a couple weeks of a seeing a tick on yo, go to the doctor immediately! And if you have Lyme you’ll have at least 2 or 3 co infections. Which can be just as serious if not more! I went 14 years trying to get a diagnoses and when I did Wow! I currently live with Lyme and 11 co infections! Insurance doesn’t cover treatment for Lyme past three weeks of antibiotics. Me and my family are 80,000 in! Need better testing and research funding for tick related illinesses! And doctors willing to treat us instead of the 100 + doctors that told me it was all in my head, I was depressed! When I started my first round of treatment my doctor said I wouldn’t have made it another six months!

  14. randy says:

    Ilive in maine and never saw a tick until turkeys were brought in from connecticut

  15. Bob S says:

    I suffered with Lyme for 15 years. I treated 2x, with IV rocephin antibiotics, once for 6 months. I’ve been saying Lyme is at epidemic proportions for years, with people being misdiagnosed. I believe there are more Lyme literate doctors now than there was when I first became ill. I don’t believe I ever got a bullseye, but sometimes you get can bite in a place you don’t see, like the back of your neck. Chronic Lyme does exist, it will consume your life. Luckily for me I had good insurance and was healthy enough to combat it. My best advice to anybody is to RUN to a doctor if you suspect you’ve been bitten by a tick. If you treat immediately you can beat it. If you don’t and it goes dormant in your body, prepare for a serious health battle

  16. Stony says:

    I had a friend that got lymes and he was miserably sick.
    His wife was giving him shots everyday and he was extremely fatigued and developed major depression over it. He couldn’t work for such a long time that his place of work finally let him go because they needed someone to fill his position. That made him even more depressed. They battled his illness for years and he was bed ridden for most of it. I don’t understand why a vaccine has not been developed for this hideous disease ? I love the outdoors but this is a real threat. Please CDC develop a vaccine. I foresee this problem becoming way bigger the longer it’s ignored.

  17. James Ondeck says:

    Birds are spreading Ticks everywhere. Google Ticks on birds. Sparrows are prime carriers of Ticks. No area is immune.