Maine reported a record number of Lyme disease cases last year, and the number could rise as data continue to trickle in, officials said Thursday.
There were at least 2,079 cases in 2019, the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
It’s too early to say why the numbers grew last year. But the numbers underscore the importance of taking precautions to avoid tick bites, said Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC.
Winter is a time of low ticket activity. But ticks can be active when the temperature climbs above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, as it did last weekend in Maine.
The state also experienced increases in two other tickborne diseases, with 685 cases of anaplasmosis and 138 cases of babesiosis.
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria carried by infected deer ticks.
It’s often accompanied by a rash referred to as the “bull’s eye” because of its shape. Symptoms include fever, chills, headache, fatigue and muscle and joint aches, officials said.