Epidemiology of Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne illness in North America and Europe. The etiologic agent, Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, is transmitted to humans by certain species of Ixodes ticks, which are found widely in temperate regions of the Northern hemisphere. Clinical features are diverse but death is rare. The risk of human infection is determined by the distribution and abundance of vector ticks, ecologic factors influencing tick infection rates, and human behaviors that promote tick bite. Rates of infection are highest among children aged 5 to 15 years and adults aged more than 50 years. In the northeastern United States where disease is most common, exposure occurs primarily in areas immediately around the home. Knowledge of disease epidemiology is important for patient management and proper diagnosis.