Magazine

Examiner | Magazine

Lyme disease turns 40. There will be no cake.

New England is home to the tick-borne illness and still has the highest incident rates.

Forty years ago researchers at Yale published papers describing “Lyme arthritis,” named for an outbreak around Lyme, Connecticut.

AP photo; Globe staff photo-illustration

Forty years ago researchers at Yale published papers describing “Lyme arthritis,” named for an outbreak around Lyme, Connecticut.

> 1977 — Year researchers at Yale published papers describing “Lyme arthritis,” named for an outbreak around Lyme, Connecticut

> 36 to 48 — Minimum number of hours a tick needs to feed on a person before it can transmit Lyme disease

Advertisement

> 0.137 — Average maximum size, in inches, of adult deer ticks, the primary transmitters of Lyme disease; younger ticks can be as small as a poppy seed

> 4,618 — Estimated cases of Lyme in Massachusetts in 2016; the average since 2012 is 5,048 per year

Get Today's Headlines in your inbox:
The day's top stories delivered every morning.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

> 132 — Estimated cases of Lyme in Suffolk County in 2016

> 96% — Percent of Lyme disease cases in the US occur in 14 states in the Northeast and Midwest; New England states have the highest number per 100,000 people

The Tick, created by Pembroke’s Ben Edlund for New England Comics.

> 20-25% — Approximate chances a deer tick in a high-risk area like the Northeast will carry Lyme disease

Advertisement

> 80-90% — Percentage of cases in which a person with Lyme disease develops a rash (not always the telltale bull’s-eye) at the bite spot

> 10 — The time, in minutes, it takes for a dryer set on high to kill any live ticks on clothing

> 1998 — Year SmithKlineBeecham’s LYMErix vaccine for humans was approved for sale; it was pulled from the market in 2002 due to poor sales

> 2009 — Year Merck released Nobivac, a Lyme disease vaccine for dogs that has since been administered safely to more than 2 million canines

QUOTABLE CARTOONS

“Don’t make us bite you in hard-to-reach places!” — The Tick, a spoof superhero created by Pembroke’s Ben Edlund for New England Comics (from the animated TV series 1994-1997)

Sources: Massachusetts Department of Public Health; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; American Lyme Disease Association; LymeDisease.org; NIH; New England Comics; PubMed; Yale

Loading comments...
Real journalists. Real journalism. Subscribe to The Boston Globe today.