NJ ranks No. 2 for most confirmed cases of Lyme disease
We all know that Lyme disease is prevalent in New Jersey.
May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month for people. And since most of the Lyme disease here in New Jersey is caused by an abundance of ticks it’s the time of year to recognize what a big problem we have here in New Jersey. Tick season is here. And the reasons that New Jersey is such a hospitable environment for ticks are many.
First, the state's geographic location on the East Coast places it within the range of several tick species, including the black-legged tick, which is known to transmit Lyme disease.
Second, because we have hot, sticky summers and relatively warmer winters, ticks can remain active year-round here.
Also, everyone knows that we have a very large population of deer which serve as hosts for adult ticks and may contribute to the tick population.
Blacklegged ticks, which can carry bacteria that cause Lyme disease, start to become active in the spring, which is why April is recognized as Prevent Lyme Disease in Dogs Month, and now in May, it’s Lyme disease awareness month.
The Special Reports Team at Veterinarians.org analyzed four years of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine what states across the nation have traditionally seen the most confirmed cases of Lyme disease in people. The numbers, though not surprising, are sobering.
First of all, New Jersey and New York combined make up nearly a quarter (23%) of the total number of confirmed cases in the entire nation. Out of the total number of confirmed cases in the entire nation during this time period (102,727), we’re actually second in the country.
New Jersey has seen over 12,000 confirmed cases of Lyme disease over the span of the studied four years.
When you see us listed among the top 10, it’s a visual reminder of how vulnerable we are to Lyme disease especially because the top 10 states alone account for 85% of the total number of confirmed cases of Lyme Disease in the United States during the analyzed time period.
Here’s the top 10 list based on CDC numbers for the four-year period beginning in January 2016 and ending in December 2019.
Pennsylvania — 32,921
New Jersey —12,237
New York —11,418
Maine — 5,315
Connecticut — 4,682
Minesotta — 4,577
Maryland — 4,166
New Hampshire — 3,680
Virginia — 3,549
How to be extra cautious? By wearing protective clothing, using repellents, staying in the center of trails, and checking for ticks regularly, you can reduce your risk of tick bites and prevent tick-borne diseases.
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Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.
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