Where Does Lyme Disease Come From?

January 5, 2024

Lyme disease, an infectious ailment that has been a topic of extensive discussion, concern, and research in recent times, is as intriguing in its origin as it is in its impact on human health. 

In this blog, we’ll explore the origins of Lyme disease, explore the factors that contribute to its prevalence, and explain where it’s most common. We'll also guide you on how to find resources to help you avoid it in the future and where to go to get treatment should you have it. 

The Origin of Lyme Disease

The story of Lyme disease begins with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacterium is the primary cause of Lyme disease and is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks, commonly known as deer ticks. These ticks acquire the bacterium by biting infected animals, such as mice or deer, and then transmit it to humans through subsequent bites.

Interestingly, Lyme disease is a relatively discovery in the medical world. It was first identified in the 1970s in Lyme, Connecticut, where a mysterious outbreak of rheumatoid arthritis-like symptoms in children and adults led to its discovery. This geographical association is how the disease got its name.

Geographic Spread of Lyme Disease

Scientists believe that Lyme Disease originated in the Northeastern United States–and was present in North America for thousands of years, as indicated by the prevalence of the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi in ancient human remains. Over time, the disease spread to many different parts of North America, mainly by way of the distribution of its primary carrier, the black-legged tick. 

Regions Where Lyme Disease is Common

Blacklegged ticks are most commonly found in wooded and grassy areas, particularly in the Northeast, Midwest, and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. However, they have also been found in other parts of the country, such as the Pacific Northwest and California. As such, Lyme Disease is especially common in these areas. 

In the U.S., states like Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania have reported high incidences of Lyme disease, whereas in Europe, countries such as Germany, Sweden, and Norway have noted significant occurrences of the disease, again correlating with the habitats favorable to ticks.

Locating Lyme Disease Risk Areas

For those curious or concerned about the geographical distribution of Lyme disease, resources are available to help identify areas with a higher risk of Lyme disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers detailed maps of areas where people who contracted Lyme Disease are most prevalent. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that these are the areas where ticks with Lyme disease risk are most prevalent, they’re still a helpful resource for those looking to understand their potential risk.

Additionally, local health departments and government websites often provide region-specific information about the prevalence of Lyme disease and tick activity.


Understanding the origins and geographical distribution of Lyme disease is crucial in raising awareness and preventing this tick-borne illness. While certain regions are more prone to Lyme disease, it's important to exercise caution and preventive measures, especially when in tick-infested areas. 

Get Expert Treatment for Lyme Disease At Sierra Integrative Medical Center

At Sierra Integrative Medical Center, we are dedicated to assisting individuals in managing and overcoming Lyme disease, from the acute to the chronic. If you have Lyme Disease or have symptoms associated with Lyme Disease and would like to learn more about treatment options, contact us to schedule a consultation. Our medical professionals will evaluate your specific case and develop a personalized treatment plan designed to alleviate your symptoms and improve your overall health and well-being.

Contact us today to learn more.