Lyme disease was first described in the United
States in the town of Old Lyme, Connecticut in 1975, but has now
been reported in most parts of the United States. Most cases occur
in the Northeast, upper Midwest, and along the Pacific coast. Mice
and deer are the most commonly infected animals that serve as host
to the tick. Most infections occur in the summer.
The disease is difficult to diagnose, because the
symptoms mimic other diseases. A characteristic red rash usually
occurs at the site of the bite; however, the bite may go
unnoticed. A few months after the bite, muscle paralysis, joint
inflammation, neurological symptoms and sometimes heart symptoms
The CDC began surveillance
for Lyme disease in 1982 and the Council of State and Territorial
Epidemiologists (CSTE) designated Lyme disease as a nationally
notifiable disease in January 1991.