Skip to main content

CDC: Lyme disease cases are rising, and expanding across the country

  • Author:
  • Updated:

The number of cases of Lyme disease in the U.S. has increased dramatically over the past several years, and its reach is spreading across more of the country, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cases of Lyme disease are still concentrated in the Northeast and upper Midwest. But now more areas in those regions are considered high risk, the study notes.

“The risk is expanding, in all directions,” said the lead author, Kiersten Kugeler of the CDC, according to the Associated Press.

There are now 260 counties in the country where the number of Lyme disease cases is at least twice what’s expected, given the size of each county’s population. That’s up from 130 a decade earlier, according to the report.

The bacteria that causes Lyme disease is spread by infected deer ticks, and researchers suspect warmer temperatures caused by climate change are allowing the ticks to thrive in more areas of the country.

More development in wooded areas, where ticks live, may also be a factor, Kugeler said, according to the Associated Press.

According to the study, 17 states have high-risk counties, including several in the Northeast - Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont.

In the upper Midwest, Minnesota and Wisconsin have several high-risk counties, as do Iowa and Michigan.

More Minnesota counties are now considered high risk. But the study found that Lyme disease isn't spreading as much in Wisconsin, staying primarily in the northwestern part of the state, according to NBC News, although the study didn't say why.

Minnesota recorded 1,431 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in 2013, along with another 909 suspected cases. That compares with just 252 confirmed cases in 1996.

In Wisconsin, the numbers are fairly similar: 1,741 confirmed cases in 2013 and another 527 probable.

Nationwide about 20,000 to 30,000 cases are reported each year, but experts say the actual number is probably 10 times higher.

Symptoms of Lyme disease include a fever, headache and fatigue, and sometimes a rash that looks like a bull’s-eye on the tick bite. Most people recover with antibiotics. If left untreated, the infection can cause arthritis and more severe problems.

Next Up


Eveleth man gets 11 years for selling woman fentanyl that led to fatal OD

Torisa Sulvoris Wallace, 39, was sentenced to 134 months in prison in U.S. District Court in Virginia Thursday.

Brian O'Hara

Brian O'Hara selected as new Minneapolis police chief

O'Hara currently serves a deputy mayor role in Newark, New Jersey.


Darby's bar in Minneapolis' North Loop to close after 11 years

The business announced it will be closing in October.


Blaine man found dead inside car that crashed into lake

The victim's father said his son was on his way to work before the crash.

Police tape

Man fatally shot at a home in Brooklyn Park

The shooting happened at a home in the 7800 block of Tessman Drive.

Screen Shot 2022-09-28 at 3.36.57 PM

Scott County attorney candidates differ on marijuana possession

Scott County is one of a few Minnesota counties where the incumbent prosecutor is facing a challenger in November.

Screen Shot 2022-09-23 at 10.21.38 PM

Teen charged in shooting outside of Richfield football game

Due to the age of the suspect, the case won't be made public.

Screen Shot 2020-02-06 at 9.05.08 AM

Twin Cities Summer Jam no more: popular festival brought to an end

The festival noted how the land they host camping on has recently been sold.


Northern Minnesota, Wisconsin among highest risk areas for Lyme disease

Parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin have among the highest rates of deer ticks carrying the bacteria that causes the debilitating Lyme disease infections. The revelation comes from the first study that looks at the number of disease carrying ticks rather than the number of people infected with the disease.

New research suggests surge in lyme disease tied to fewer foxes

A new scientific study finds that lyme disease has increased the fastest in places -- like Minnesota -- where red fox numbers are shrinking. The ticks that carry the disease often live on mice, chipmunks, or other small mammals that are prey for foxes. The spread of coyotes has fox numbers dwindling in many areas.