Lyme disease is a complicated infection that is caused by bacteria that’s transmitted from a tick or insect bite. The majority of cases of Lyme are due to a bite from a type of deer tick known as the black-legged tick, which can carry and pass on bacteria known as borrelia burgdorferi. According to the Michigan Lyme Disease Association, more recently it’s also been found that other insects can also spread Lyme disease or cause similar infections — including other types of ticks, mosquitoes, and possibly spiders or fleas.
Overall, up to 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease every year, according to new research from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), and many seek Lyme disease treatment. Lyme disease cases are largely concentrated in the Northeast and upper Midwest, with 14 states accounting for over 96 percent of cases reported to CDC.
Lyme disease symptoms can start with flulike symptoms, headaches, muscle and joint pain. Over time, the symptoms can continue to worsen and turn into a long-lived inflammatory response that is similar to an autoimmune illness.
It’s important to understand that although Lyme disease originates from an insect bite, symptoms are caused by an inflammatory infection that has a lot to do with the strength of someone’s immune system. Two people who are both bit by the same insect carrying the bacteria that causes Lyme disease can respond very differently. That’s why preventing and treating Lyme disease symptoms by improving overall immunity is key.