MORRIS COUNTY, NJ — Morris County reported the most cases of Lyme disease of any New Jersey county in 2017, with 650 cases diagnosed in the area according to the CDC. That number is an increase over previous years: in 2016, 539 cases were reported, and in 2015, 572 were reported.
A total of 5,092 cases were reported to the State Department of Health in 2017, with Morris County making up over 11 percent of all cases. About 30,000 cases are reported nationwide annually.
It’s not surprising that so many cases were reported in New Jersey or in Morris County. Lyme disease diagnosis tend to be concentrated in the northeast section of the country. In 2015, 95 percent of all cases were reported from just 14 states (of those, only Wisconsin and Minnesota are not in the northeast).
Lyme disease is transmitted when an infected deer tick bites a human and stays latched onto the skin, allowing transmission to happen. Only a minority of ticks are infected, and the longer the tick stays attached, the more likely it is that the disease will spread, according tothe Mayo Clinic.
Steps can be taken to avoid Lyme disease. Wearing insect repellents, covering up with long sleeve shirts and tucking your pants into your socks when outside, and always checking for ticks after coming inside can help prevent Lyme. It is possible to get Lyme disease more than once, so even if you’ve had it and been treated you should still be careful.
Symptoms of Lyme include a bullseye rash and flu-like symptoms. If untreated Lyme can also cause joint pain and neurological problems.