Lyme disease is found in Minnesota
Lyme disease is an infection that is transmitted to people through bites from blacklegged ticks (commonly called deer ticks). The disease is caused by a bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. A new species of bacteria, Borrelia mayonii, also causes Lyme disease in people.
Lyme disease occurs regionally. It is heavily concentrated in the northeast and upper Midwest of the United States. Minnesota is one of 14 states that has the majority of Lyme disease cases. In 2017, Minnesota had a rate of 25.2 cases per 100,000 people compared to the national rate of 9.1 cases per 100,000 people.
Tick bites can be prevented
Blacklegged ticks are found in wooded, brushy areas. People who are outside in these areas, like outdoor enthusiasts or outdoor workers, are more at risk for being bitten by an infected tick.
To avoid tick bites:
- Avoid wooded, brushy areas from mid-May through mid-July
- Walk in the center of trails to avoid picking up ticks from grass and brush
- Wear long, light-colored clothing to protect you from ticks and make them more visible if they are on you
- Use a tick repellent with up to 30% DEET or permethrin-based repellents for clothing
- Check for ticks, and remove them promptly
What is Minnesota doing about Lyme disease?
- The MDH Vectorborne Diseases Unit works with Minnesota residents to limit exposure to the ticks that cause the disease, and they monitor the spread of the disease across the state.
- The MDH Climate & Health Program and Vectorborne Disease Unit work together to educate about the public health issues and prevention strategies related to climate change and tickborne disease.
- The Metropolitan Mosquito Control District identifies and monitors the distribution of blacklegged ticks within the 7-County Metropolitan Area.
- The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources educates the public on minimizing risk to tick bites.