How do people get Lyme disease?

The Lyme disease bacterium, is spread through the bite of infected ticks. The bacteria (germs) that cause Lyme disease normally live in mice, squirrels, and other small animals. Lyme disease is transmitted (spread) among these animals, and to humans, through the bites of deer ticks. Deer ticks are also called black-legged ticks.


Most humans are infected through the bites of immature ticks called nymphs. Nymphs are tiny (less than 2 millimeters) and difficult to see; they feed during the spring and summer months. Adult ticks can also transmit Lyme disease bacteria, but they are much larger and may be more likely to be discovered and removed before they have had time to transmit the bacteria. Adult ticks are most active during the cooler months of the year.

Show All Answers

1. What is Lyme disease?
2. What is the best way to remove a tick?
3. I just pulled a tick off of myself, what do I do?
4. How do people get Lyme disease?
5. What are the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease?
6. How is Lyme disease diagnosed?
7. How good is testing for Lyme disease?
8. How is Lyme disease treated?
9. When will a Lyme disease vaccine become available?
10. How is Lyme disease transmitted?
11. When do most people get Lyme disease?
12. Where will I find ticks?
13. What can I do to protect myself from getting Lyme disease?
14. I found a tick on me, now what do I do?
15. When do symptoms appear?