Tick/Lyme Disease Info

The following information is from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health...

What is Lyme disease?

Lyme disease is caused by bacteria (germs) that are spread by tiny, infected deer ticks.  Both people and animals can have Lyme disease.


Where do cases of Lyme disease occur?

In the United States, Lyme disease most commonly occurs in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions and in the upper Midwest.  In Massachusetts, Lyme disease occurs throughout the state.


How is Lyme disease spread?

Lyme disease is spread by the bite of an infected deer tick.  The tick usually must be attached to a person for at least 24 hours before it can spread the germ.  Deer ticks in Massachusetts can also carry the germs that cause babesiosis and human granulocytic anaplasmosis (also known as human granulocytic ehrlichiosis).  Deer ticks are capable of spreading more than one type of germ in a single bite.

When can I get Lyme disease?

Lyme disease can occur during any time of the year.  The bacteria that cause Lyme disease are spread by infected deer ticks.  Young ticks (nymphs) are most active during the warm weather months between May and July.  Adult ticks are most active during the fall and spring but may also be out searching for a host any time that winter temperatures are above freezing.

How soon do symptoms of Lyme disease appear after a tick bite?

Symptoms of early Lyme disease usually begin to appear from 3 to 30 days after being bitten by an infected tick.  If untreated, symptoms of late Lyme disease may occur from weeks to years after the initial infection.

Please see  THE MASSACHUSETTS PUBLIC HEALTH FACT SHEET: Lyme Disease for additional information, including symptoms. 

If you still have questions...

  • The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), Division of Epidemiology and Immunization at (617) 983-6800 or toll-free at (888) 658-2850, or on the MDPH Tickborne Diseases website at www.mass.gov/dph/tick 
  • Health effects of pesticides, MDPH, Center for Environmental Health at 617-624-5757 
  • Or please call your doctor, nurse, or health care clinic or your local board of health (listed in the telephone directory under local government)