The ticks that cause Lyme disease are primarily found in the Northeast, Midwest and California. New Jersey is one of the eight states reporting over ninety percent of all cases nationwide.
About the tick
In New Jersey, Lyme disease is transmitted primarily by the bite of an infected black-legged or deer tick (Ixodes scapularis).
Ticks are flattened and circular in appearance with eight legs. Deer ticks are very small only one sixteenth of an inch across. Immature ticks are even smaller and very difficult to detect. The adult deer tick is dark brown to black in color with rust colored brown on the female.
Ticks have three stages of life larvae, nymph and adult.
Ticks (called vectors) must obtain a bloodmeal from an animal (called hosts) in each stage of the tick's life. The animal is the source of the disease. Birds, mice and deer are among the wide variety of animal hosts. Ticks acquire the disease during the larvae or nymph stages of their lives. Ticks live about two years.
When can you be bitten?
Deer ticks can bite during any stage of their lives but the nymph stage deer ticks are the most active and most likely to bite and pass on the disease. Two thirds of Lyme disease cases are reported between May and August but bites can occur any time during the year.
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