According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC), Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne illness
in the United States, with over 245,373 cases reported since
1990. New Jersey consistently reports the third or fourth
highest number of confirmed Lyme disease cases each year.
Between 1981 (when Lyme disease became reportable in the
state) and 2005, over 32,000 cases have been reported in
New Jersey. During the past 5 years, New Jersey has averaged
of over 2,750 cases annually and in 2005, reported 3,363
Lyme disease cases, the highest number ever recorded in
the state. Lyme disease is considered endemic in all 21
New Jersey counties.
Although the importance of Lyme disease cannot be overstated,
other emerging tick-borne diseases also pose a significant
public health threat. Over the past 5 years alone, New Jersey
has reported 32 cases of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, 21
cases of human monocytic ehrlichiosis (HME), 24 cases of
human granulocytic anaplasmosis (HGA), and 195 cases of
human babesiosis. Recent studies in Monmouth County have
shown vector ticks to be infected with the pathogens that
cause Lyme disease (50.3%), HME (12.3%), HGA (6.1%), and
human babesiosis (9.5%), and that a significant number of
ticks are co-infected with two disease agents.