Ticks are a type of arachnid that dwell in wooded and tall grassy spaces and can live on other animals’ blood. Unfortunately, they also carry diseases like Lyme, Zika, dengue, and plague that they can transfer to humans through their bites. 

 While ticks may most commonly be associated with the northeastern part of the U.S. and the state of Texas, tick-borne diseases are, in fact, a pernicious and growing threat throughout the United States, with the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) reporting over 640,000 cases of tick-borne diseases in the U.S. between ’04 and ’16. 

 Catching tick bites and checking for infection early is one of the best ways to protect yourself from tick bites, but even better is to be aware of your surroundings and take the necessary precautions to protect yourself from tick bites in the first place. With that in mind, we offer this look at the worst states in the country for ticks and Lyme disease.

man in need of tick repellent as tick sits on a leaf over a hikers shoe

Worst States for Ticks and Lyme Disease

 Tick-borne diseases account for more than three-quarters of all vector-borne diseases in the U.S. (or diseases in humans caused by pathogens or parasites.) More than 80% of cases were Lyme disease, though other tick-borne diseases on the rise in the U.S. also include anaplasmosis/ehrlichiosis, babesiosis, and spotted fever rickettsioses.

 With more than 12,856 cases each, all of the states below count among the top 20% of tick-borne disease cases per state in the U.S. The reported tick counts listed for each state were for the entire year 2016. Given a doubling of reported cases of tick-borne illnesses in the U.S. over the 13 years leading up to 2016, the numbers most likely can only be higher today. 

  1. Pennsylvania:  73,610 cases
  2. New York: 69,313 cases
  3. New Jersey: 51,578 cases
  4. Massachusetts: 50,234 cases
  5. Connecticut: 36,727 cases

 Rounding out the top ten are:

  • Wisconsin
  • Minnesota
  • Maryland
  • Virginia
  • New Hampshire

 As for Lyme disease cases, in particular, Vermont has the unpleasant distinction of having the highest incidence of Lyme disease in the U.S., with Pennsylvania and Maine tying for second place. 

man protecting himself from ticks by using tick repellent, tucking his pant legs into his wool socks, and wearing hiking boots in the woods

PROVEN REPELLENT | Best Tick Repellent

 You can take many precautions when going outdoors to protect yourself from tick bites and Lyme disease, not the least being to use a safe, healthy, and effective tick repellentProven Repellent is an odorless bug spray that’s also DEET-free. In addition to protecting against tick-borne diseases, Proven Repellent also protects against mosquitoes, black flies, and other biting insects, as well as the common vector-borne diseases they carry. Best of all, a single application lasts all day.

five bottles of proven tick repellent