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Lyme disease is an illness caused by Borrelia burgdorferi a member of the spirochete or spiral-shaped bacteria family It was first officially recognized in the United States in 1975 after an unusual cluster of arthritis cases broke out in children from Lyme Connecticut What we now know as Lyme disease was reported in a grouse hunter from Taylor County Wisconsin in 1969 It wasnt until 1979 that additional cases of Lyme disease were reported in Wisconsin The bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi was not even identified until 1982 There are about 12000-16000 cases of Lyme disease reported each year in the United States Lyme disease has been reported in almost every state in the country although most cases are concentrated in the coastal northeast from Massachusetts to Maryland the north-central states especially Wisconsin and Minnesota and the west coast particularly northern California Since 1980 there have been 6089 cases of Lyme disease reported in Wisconsin most of them coming from the northwestern or west central part of the state I chose this topic because I knew that Lyme disease was an illness common to Wisconsin and I wanted to learn how to protect my friends and family from the diseaseLyme disease is spread by the bite of ticks of the genus Ixodes that are infected with Borrelia burgdorferi The deer tick is responsible for transmitting Lyme disease bacteria to humans in the northeastern and north-central United States On the west coast the bacteria are transmitted to humans by the blacklegged tick Ixodes ticks are much smaller than common dog and cattle ticks In their larval and nymphal stages they are no bigger than a pinhead Adults are only slightly larger Ticks can attach to any part of the human body but often attach to the more hidden and hairy areas such as the groin armpits and scalp For the most part ticks transmit Lyme disease to humans during the nymph stage because they are more likely to
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