Lyme and Other Tickborne Diseases
Lyme and other tickborne diseases are spread to humans and animals by the bite of an infected tick. In New Hampshire, and across the United States, Lyme disease is the most commonly reported tickborne disease. Anaplasmosis, babesiosis and Powassan virus are other tickborne diseases that have been documented in New Hampshire, while ehrlichiosis, tularemia and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are tickborne diseases that may be encountered in travel to other parts of the country, including other New England states.
Lyme disease, anaplasmosis, babesiosis and Powassan virus are transmitted by the bite of the black-legged tick (lxodes scapularis), formerly known as the deer tick. Black-legged ticks have four life stages: eggs, larvae, nymphs and adults. The black-legged tick nymphs are most active in the late spring through summer months (usually May through August) and are the most likely to infect humans with tickborne diseases.
The NH Department of Health and Human Services (NH DHHS) has published a "State of New Hampshire Tickborne Disease Prevention Plan" . This document provides additional background information about the tickborne diseases documented in NH and is a resource for anyone seeking more information about how to begin modifying their behavior and physical landscape to reduce the risk of tickborne disease."
Tickborne diseases can be serious illnesses and can affect people of any age. The best way to prevent being infected with a tickborne disease is to take precautions to avoid being bitten by a tick. However, if you are bitten by a tick, remove that tick as soon and as safely as possible. As always, if you have any questions or concerns about a tick bite, contact your healthcare provider(s).
Information on tickborne disease educational materials and data are available from the NH Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) and can be found on the Lyme and Other Tickborne Diseases Publications and Data page.
The New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food offers free tick identification to New Hampshire residents. The intent is to monitor the distribution of tick species in NH. To submit your sample, complete the Tick Submission Form and mail the tick and form as described. Ticks submitted will not be tested for disease-causing pathogens.
NH DHHS issues guidance to healthcare providers on tickborne disease diagnosis, treatment, and prevention as well as prophylaxis for tick bites. NH DHHS guidance is based upon the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) guidelines, which are the best available synthesis of the medical literature on the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease. The IDSA guidelines were issued in 2006 and confirmed by an independent panel in 2010. IDSA is currently in the process of developing updated guidelines in conjunction with several medical societies and scientific organizations.
In 2015, the New Hampshire state legislature passed legislation (House Bill 363) requiring DHHS to post a link to the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) on its Internet website. NH DHHS neither endorses nor supports the position of ILADS.
- Tick Bite Fact Sheet
- Lyme Disease Fact Sheet
- Anaplasmosis Fact Sheet
- Babesiosis Fact Sheet
- Powassan Virus Fact Sheet
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