Approximately 35,000 cases of Lyme disease, an infection transmitted by ticks, are reported to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention each year. The illness is primarily spread by the bite of blacklegged ticks infected with Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria.
However, estimates based on insurance claims show that more than ten times that number — about 476,000 people — are diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease each year, even if they don't report it directly to the CDC.
Lyme disease can also be tricky to diagnose, as many of the symptoms can occur with other infections. Doctors may consider your lifestyle, as well as the region where you live to determine if you're likely to have been exposed to blacklegged ticks. Also known as deer ticks, the insects are local to the northeast and have spread southward and to parts of the Midwest.
Here are five physical signs to look out for if you are at risk of contracting Lyme disease.