Tickborne Disease Data
To monitor the epidemiology, incidence and geographic distribution of tickborne diseases.
About Lyme disease
- Lyme disease is a tickborne bacterial disease, causing symptoms such as fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic bullseye rash. Late symptoms can include arthritis, neurological problems, and heart disease. Lyme disease can be successfully treated with a course of antibiotics. Lyme disease is transmitted by the blacklegged (“deer”) tick, mostly in upper Midwest and Northeast states, in wooded or grassy areas, and during warm months. More information about Lyme disease
- Data Overview
- Reported cases of Lyme remained stable from 2017-2021, however reported cases increased by over 230% in 2022 with much of this significant increase attributed to the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) case definition change for Lyme disease.
- In 2022, Rhode Island had 2,326 cases of Lyme disease, with an incidence rate of 212 cases per 100,000 people. The 5-year mean rate for Lyme disease for 2017-2021, reporting years before the CSTE case definition change, was 92 per 100,000 people.
- Washington County consistently has the highest rate of Lyme disease in Rhode Island with a rate of 608 cases per 100,000 people in 2018. The five-year mean rate for Lyme disease in Washington County for 2017-2021, reporting years before the CSTE case definition change, was 204 per 100,000 people.
- Most Lyme disease cases are reported during the summer months, with a peak observed during July.
About Anaplasmosis and Ehrlichiosis
- Anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis are tickborne, bacterial diseases that typically cause fever, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches one-two weeks following a tick bite. Anaplasmosis is most common in the upper Midwest and Northeast states, corresponding with the geographical distribution of Lyme disease. Co-infections are possible as the blacklegged (“deer”) tick that carries the bacteria can also transmit Lyme disease and babesiosis. Ehrlichiosis is most common in the Southeast and Southcentral US, corresponding with the geographical distribution of the Lone Star tick which transmits the disease. However, the range of the Lone Star tick has been expanding and these ticks have been found in Rhode Island and other Northeast states. More information about Ehrlichiosis
- Data Overview
- In 2022, Rhode Island had 63 cases of anaplasmosis, with a rate of 5.7 cases per 100,000 people, and 16 cases of ehrlichiosis with a rate of 1.5 cases per 100,000 people. This calculates to a combined 79 cases, with a combined rate of 7.2 cases per 100,000 people.
- The five-year mean for combined anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis cases for 2017-2021, reporting years before the CSTE case definition change, was 182.6 cases, with a five-year mean rate of 16.6 cases per 100,000 people.
- In 2022, RIDOH implemented the CDC case report form for Tickborne Rickettsial Diseases deployed for use in 2020, which isolates the patient clinical evidence of disease used for identifying case status in accordance with the CSTE case definition.
- Anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis occur consistently at the highest rate in Washington County.
- The majority of anaplasmosis and ehrlichiosis cases are reported during the summer months, with a peak observed during June and July.
- Babesiosis is a tickborne, parasitic disease caused by protozoa. Symptoms range from subclinical to life-threatening and mimic malaria, appearing one to nine weeks after the bite of an infected blacklegged (“deer”) tick. Many infected people have no symptoms; others experience flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, sweats, headache, body aches, loss of appetite, nausea, or fatigue. Ticks that carry babesia are the most commonly found and cause disease in the Northeast and upper Midwest states, in wooded or grassy areas, and during warm months when they are in their nymphal life stage. More information about Babesiosis
- Data Overview
- In 2018, there were 118 cases of babesiosis in Rhode Island, with an incidence rate of 10.81 cases per 100,000 people.
- Babesiosis is most commonly reported in older male adults, and Washington County has the highest case rate.
- Babesiosis in Rhode Island peaks in the summer months, with 77% of cases occurring between June and August in 2022.
- Babesiosis became nationally reportable in 2011. With more years of surveillance, an overall trend in disease distribution may become clearer. However, in recent years case counts have remained fairly consistent.
Extracted from Rhode Island National Electronic Disease Surveillance System in April 2023. Probable and confirmed cases are based on lab work reported to the Rhode Island Department of Health.