Bitten by Uncertainty

The growing epidemic of Lyme disease in the Northeast.

A tick collected on field trip led by University of Rhode Island professor Thomas Mather, a tick-borne disease expert.

Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

A tick collected on field trip led by University of Rhode Island professor Thomas Mather, a tick-borne disease expert.

3 heart cases, deaths tied to Lyme disease

The federal study also suggests death from the deer tick-borne bacteria is more common than previously thought. By Beth Daley

Oct. 21

// Many tests to diagnose Lyme, but no proof they work

Companies take advantage of an exemption in FDA regulations that frees them from having to prove that their tests correctly diagnose the disease.

July 14

// A minuscule foe, a massive public health challenge

Tick-borne Lyme disease is an epidemic in New England, but prevention efforts are scattershot, lagging far behind the need.

Aug. 18

// When the ‘cure’ doesn’t end the pain

Scientists are puzzling over why some Lyme disease patients have symptoms that can linger for years despite standard treatment.

June 2

// Drawing the lines in the Lyme disease battle

Angry patients question treatment — or lack of it — yet with tests often inconclusive, some doctors think the condition is overdiagnosed.

Interactive graphic

How deer ticks grow, feed

A look at the life cycle of deer ticks, and how they spread Lyme disease.


// How to remove a tick

The proper way to remove the bug from your skin.

// Researchers strive for vaccine against tick-borne diseases

Vaccines are one strategy for protecting the public, but technical challenges and public skepticism stand in the way.

reporter’s notebook

A tick in her hair serves as reminder to take precautions

I felt the bump on my head at dinner with friends in Roslindale.

Reporter’s notebook

// Relative’s illness spurred examination of Lyme disease

Globe reporter Beth Daley wanted to get to the bottom of the illness after her husband’s cousin died.

Photo gallery

// Ticks in New England

Lyme disease and ticks appear to be a low priority for public health authorities.

More on this report


// About this series

With tens of thousands of people contracting Lyme, or other tick-borne diseases, in Massachusetts each year, the Globe is taking an in-depth look at the disease, the patients, the debate, science and testing.

// TickEncounter Risk Calculator

An online tool that helps to determine your chance of encountering deer ticks in your backyard.