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Top 5 West Coast states for ticks and Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is considered to be the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. It is transmitted through a bite from an infected tick. If left untreated, it can produce a wide range of symptoms from fever or rash to facial paralysis and arthritis. According to the CDC, approximately 476,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year. 

Ticks can be found just about everywhere, and they’re certainly not strangers to the West Coast. Thankfully, only the western blacklegged tick can transmit Lyme disease on the Pacific Coast. But unfortunately, it is found throughout coastal California, the Sierra Nevada range, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Idaho, and Utah. Using data from the CDC, we compiled a list of the top five states in the western United States for Lyme disease.

Lyme disease label checked positive on a test tube in the hands of a laboratory assistant

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1. California

Coming in at number one, California reported the most cases of Lyme disease, with 82 reports in 2019. According to the California Department of Public Health, Lyme disease is the most reported tick-borne disease in the state. Though ticks are active as long as temperatures are above 30 degrees, Lyme disease-carrying ticks are most active in the Golden State during June and July. This timeframe unfortunately lines up with the most popular time for beach go-ers, and Lyme disease-carrying ticks are found right by the ocean. In addition to the beach, you may also run into these pests on hiking trails and while walking around national parks.

View of the Pacific Coast Highway showing blue water and sand next to it with a bridge ahead

2. Washington

According to NPMA, Lyme disease is usually rare in Washington, but not in 2019. The beautiful state of Washington ranked number two on our list with the second-highest amount of cases at 18. Most of the Lyme disease-carrying ticks are found in the western part of the state. However, you can also run into these ticks on the eastern slope of the Cascades. Watch out for them in heavily forested or dense brushy areas. If you’re heading into those types of areas, use an insect repellent spray and make sure your arms and legs are covered.

Snow covered mountain in the distance reflected in a lake surrounded by green trees.

3. Oregon

Lyme disease cases have been on the rise in Oregon throughout the last couple of years, making the state come in at number three on our list. In 2019, Oregon reported 10 cases. Oregon’s beautiful hiking trails and national parks create a perfect environment for ticks to hibernate. Areas like these see an increase in tick activity in May, June, and July. Take precautionary measures if you are going out on an adventure, as you may have a few extra friends with you. Be sure to use DEET and wear protective and light-colored clothing so you can easily spot any ticks on yourself.

View of downtown Astoria, Oregon bordering a body of water with a large bridge over it.

4. Arizona

Many people think you cannot contract Lyme disease in the desert, but the state of Arizona begs to differ — coming in at number four on our list. In 2019, the Copper State reported six cases of the disease. However, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services, the western blacklegged tick has only been found in the higher elevations of the Hualapai Mountains in northwest Arizona. The majority of the confirmed Lyme disease cases are in Maricopa County and are from Arizona residents who became infected with the disease while traveling. Still, it is better to take precautionary measures when adventuring outdoors.

Arizona sunset over four tall cacti in the desert

5. Utah

Utah comes in last place reporting five cases of Lyme disease in the state in 2019. Even though Utah is well-known for its long, cold winters, the disease is more prevalent in the Beehive state than one may think. Similar to Arizona though, a lot of Utah’s Lyme disease reports are acquired out of state. However, what many believe is due to climate change, the western blacklegged tick has migrated into Utah. It is unfortunately causing the state to see a rise in Lyme disease cases. With this in mind, it is important to protect yourself when hiking through any of Utah’s beautiful trails. 

Aerial view of downtown Park City, Utah with the mountains in the distance

Western provides the best tick protection

Though Lyme disease cases are relatively lower on the west coast compared to the east, it is always better to be safe than sorry. The data from the CDC only reports on confirmed cases of the disease in each state, meaning actual quantities of the disease may be greater. It is important to follow proper tick prevention methods, like using an EPA-approved insect repellent, when adventuring outdoors.

Most people encounter ticks right around their house. At Western Exterminator, we provide tick control right in your backyard. With this service, you and your family will be able to relax in peace. Contact us today to learn more about our tick prevention and control methods!

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