Lyme Disease: The Most Common Tick Bite Illness in Vermont

Lyme disease spreads through the bite of an infected blacklegged tick. There are no vaccines available to protect against Lyme disease, but clinical trials are underway. The best way to protect yourself from Lyme disease is to prevent tick bites, remove attached ticks as soon as possible, and call your doctor if you get sick after a tick bite.Learn more about how to prevent tick bites and tick bite illnesses

The most common symptom of Lyme disease is a rash that may appear 7–14 days after a tick bite and then gradually expands from the area of the bite. The rash may be warm, but it's not usually painful or itchy. Other common symptoms, like joint pain, fatigue, fever, and muscle aches, typically begin three to 30 days after a tick bite.

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Lyme Disease Risk in Vermont

  • Lyme disease is most commonly reported in the southern half of the state, but Vermonters in every county can be exposed. 
  • Anyone get Lyme disease, but males get it more frequently than females. 
  • Boys aged 5–14 and older men are at highest risk.
  • The risk is highest in June, July, and August. But cases are reported every month of the year.

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Diagnosis and Testing

Lyme disease can only be diagnosed by a health care provider. A provider may do a physical exam and review symptoms and exposure history. They may also collect a blood specimen for laboratory testing.

Read more about diagnosis and treatment from CDC

Should ticks be tested?

Some people are interested in testing removed ticks for pathogens that cause tick bite illnesses, like Lyme disease. Read more about why we don’t recommend this.


Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics. Most people who receive a timely diagnosis and begin treatment early in the course of their illness fully recover. Read more about treatment from CDC

Post-Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome

Some people may experience lingering symptoms even after being appropriately treated, a condition called "Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome." It is not clear why this happens, but it does not appear to be caused by an ongoing infection with Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. Some people call this “chronic Lyme disease” but experts in the field avoid using the term because it means different things to different people, so can be confusing. There is not a clearly defined clinical definition of “chronic Lyme disease.” For more information, see the National Institutes of Health.

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Antibiotics can prevent Lyme disease after a tick bite.

Your provider may prescribe a single dose of antibiotics under certain conditions, including if the tick was attached for 36 hours or more and the antibiotic can be taken within three days of removing the tick. Always follow your provider's instructions. Antibiotics save lives, but any time they are used, they can cause side effects and contribute to antimicrobial resistance.

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Explore Lyme Disease Trends

Lyme disease is reportable in Vermont. We collect and analyze data on Lyme disease cases to keep Vermonters informed of their risk so they can take necessary precautions. See below for more information about common symptoms, cases over time, who gets Lyme disease, and when and where the risk is highest in Vermont.

Interact with tick bite illness data

Lyme disease symptoms graph
Lyme disease cases over time
Lyme disease sex age graph
Lyme disease cases per month graph
Lyme disease cases map
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