Chris D. Meletis, N.D., Nieske Zabriskie, N.D.,
and Robert Rountree, M.D.
Lyme borreliosis is a tickborne infection caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato and is the most prevalent tickborne infectious disease in the United States. The spirochete (spiral shaped bacterium) B. burgdorferi is transmitted to humans primarily by the black-legged tick or deer tick, Ixodes scapularis, on the east coast. On the west coast, the primary vector is the western black-legged tick (Ixodes pacificus). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) 2007 data, 27,444 cases of Lyme disease were reported, with a national average of 9.1 cases per 100,000 persons.1
Residents of the coastal northeast, northwest California, and the Great Lakes region are at highest risk. In the 10 states where Lyme disease is most common, the average was 34.7 cases per 100,000 persons. 1 The incidence of Lyme disease is on the rise; the CDC reported that the number of cases of Lyme disease has doubled in the United States since 1991 and stated that these numbers are probably underestimated. 2